Skip to main content

Full text of "My Lord of Belmont : a biography of Leo Haid"

See other formats

the state op noRth caroIitu 

1 . McDowell County 

2. Burke County 

3 . Catawba County 

4. Polk County 

5 . Rutherford County 

6. Cleveland County 

7. Lincoln County 

8. Gaston County 

9. Mecklenburg County 

10. Cabarrus County 

1 1 . Rowan County 

12. Davidson County 

13. Forsyth County 

14. Guilford County. 

teRRitoRy Annexed \' ) 

By the Benedictines 
in 1891 

teRRitony Requested 
foR the ABBatia 
nullius of Belmont 

these maps are 

used courtesy of 

the Department of Cultural 

Resources of the State of 

North Carolina 








Digitized by 

the Internet Archive 
in 2014 

my Lopfc op Belmont: 

a BiOQRaphy Of Leo hai6 

6om paschal Baumstem, O.S.B. 

heRal6 house 

Cum permissu Superiorum 

©Paschal Baumstein 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or 
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, 
including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and 
retrieval system without permission in writing from the owner of the 

ISBN 0-9614976-0-2 

distributed by 

Belmont, NC 28012 




my motheR 
an6 fOR 



Belmont ABBey 

I have taken the place for pity-sake — in favor of Faith — in order to 
give the few — all dispersed — Catholics a harbor of some stability. 

— Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B. 
20 August 1884 

(SVA: Letter To Joseph Amberger) 


Leo Haid (1849-1924) was not typical of turn-of-the-century 
prelates in the Catholic Church. Obliged by powers beyond his own 
to live as both an active bishop in the domestic missions of the United 
States, and as a Benedictine monk and abbot who was vowed to 
stability and tied by preference to his cloister, he was a figure in 
conflict. This was not a struggle that would lend him happiness, but it 
did provide a remarkable backdrop for the active-contemplative 
questions that were so characteristic of the religious debates in 
American monasteries in his time. 

His career was one of astounding successes. He is credited as the 
father of five monasteries, each with its own college or school. He 
ruled the Catholic Church in North Carolina — a state that boasted 
the most overwhelmingly Protestant citizenry in the Union — for the 
crucial three^and-a-half decades that preceded that territory's first 
diocese. But diocesan legitimacy was not granted until 1924. In the 
meantime the Holy See honored Haid repeatedly: he was abbot, 
bishop, Vicar Apostolic, Roman Count, Assistant at the Pontifical 
Throne, America's only Abbot-Ordinary. By the time of his death he 
was the Dean of both the American abbots and the American 
Catholic hierarchy. The Catholic Church in North Carolina grew 
under his leadership to its greatest numbers and strength in the 
history of the state. All of the schools he founded developed toward 
financial, popular, and educational distinction. Yet none of these 
were the standards by which this American Abbot-Bishop, with his 

heart firmly implanted in his monastery, evaluated success. Thus he 
believed to the end that his divided energies rendered him a failure. 

The problem lay in the decision of the Holy See in 1887 that Leo 
Hakl should reign over his bishopric without abandoning the 
demands of his monastery and monastic vows. This created an 
unusual, dual jurisdiction. Under this ruling, Leo Haid was bound by 
the duties of an active, missionary bishop, while by vow he held to 
the stability and observance of the monastic cloister. For his own 
taste— "a monk before I was either priest or bishop," as he phrased 
it — the hierarchy of values seemed obvious. But he seldom explained 
his standards to others, and in meeting the demands of his two 
jurisdictions, the priorities seemed horribly obscure. His career, for 
that reason, was always bifurcated in the perception of his respective 
constituencies, and his accomplishments (in his own eyes, at least) 

What emerged from this disharmony and confusion, however, was 
a man who was far more distinguished than his regency. Always a 
theorist, Bishop Haid recorded detailed schemas regarding the 
principles by which his schools, monasteries, and episcopal 
jurisdiction were to be ruled. Through these somewhat abstract 
foundations for his practical duties, Haid surfaced as a man of 
surprising compassion and insight, possessed of an extraordinary 
optimism that maintained the essential, deeply spiritual, goodness of 
his subordinates and students. In the practical realm he was not a 
great success in dealing with the persons entrusted to his direction, 
particularly not with the priests of his diocese. Yet even when his 
efforts failed, they were noteworthy for the very unusual qualities 
Leo Haid brought to them. He ruled his diocese and his schools in the 
same manner as a monastery was governed: he was an abbas, a 
"father", prefering the authority of abbatial paternity over the power 
of episcopal jurisdiction and his legitimate prelacy. Out of this 
approach to leadership, rooted as it was in the theories he so carefully 
analyzed — and seen by some as a virtue, and by most of his 
contemporaries as a flaw — Leo Haid had a lasting impact on the 
character of the Catholic Church in his very Protestant domain, and 
on the abbey and college that survive him in the foothills of the 
North Carolina mountains. 

This volume records the singular life and philosophy of this monk 
who found himself a bishop and college president in twentieth 
century America. Until now, his exceptional mind and heart have 
remained hidden— even to those at the institutions he 
founded — because of restrictions on his private papers. In opening 


these documents for the first time, in the interest of this project, the 
sixth Abbot of Belmont, Peter Stragand, O.S.B., has sought to offer a 
gift of considerable value to all of those still quietly influenced by 
Haid, to his monastery, his schools and colleges, and to the Catholic 
Church in the American South. 

— Belmont Abbey 
Solemnity of Maryhelp 



The Right Reverend Abbot of Belmont, Peter Nicholas Stragand, 
opened the archives of his abbey, its nullius 'diocese', and its various 
monastic and educational apostolates for the purposes of this project. 
Unrestricted access to these documents had never previously been 
allowed, and since then the holdings have returned to their earlier 
restrictions. I am deeply indebted to Abbot Peter for facilitating this 
project, and for his unfailing commitment to the value of history and 
the necessity of its careful preservation. 

To the Reverend superiors and archivists of the American 
Cassinese Federation of the Order of Saint Benedict, Archabbey of 
Saint Vincent, Archdiocese of Baltimore, Abbey of Mary help, 
Dioceses of Richmond, Belmont Abbey Nullius, and Raleigh, Saint 
Benedict Motherhouse (Bristow, Virginia), Saint Benedict Priory 
(Richmond), and Benedictine Priory (Savannah), each of whom 
granted research privileges; to the Dioceses of Charlotte, Savannah, 
Superior, and Charleston, to Saint Bernard Abbey (Alabama), Saint 
Charles Seminary (Maryland), Saint John Abbey (Minnesota), Saint 
Anselm Abbey (Rome), Saint Anselm Abbey (New Hampshire), Saint 
Benedict Abbey (Kansas), Saint Leo Abbey (Florida), Saint Mary Ab- 
bey (New Jersey), the Redemptorists at the Provincial archives in 
New York, the University of Notre Dame (Indiana), the Sisters of the 
Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, and various in- 
dividuals, seemingly endless in number, each of whom gave use of 


specific materials from their archival holdings; to the Most Reverend 
Joseph Federal, D.D., who donated Haid materials to the archives at 
Belmont; to Arthur L. Hite, Esquire, genealogist of the Haid family, 
with whom I have taken special joy in corresponding and working 
while unraveling the story of Abbot Leo; to each of these I offer 
thanks. In particular the Venerable Brother Philip Hurley, O.S.B., 
assistant archivist for the repository of the American Cassinese 
Federation and for Saint Vincent Archabbey, was an extraordinary 
resource, being not only proficient in his work but prompt as well. 

The staff of the Abbot Vincent Taylor Library, on the campus of 
Belmont Abbey College, secured access to the various reference tools 
and instruments of research I required. They were gracious and 
courteous. I am particularly indebted to Mr. James R. Donoghue, 
also a member of the faculty and administrative staff at Belmont Ab- 
bey College. During his tenure as reference librarian his service was 
invaluable; subsequent to his promotion at the College, he donated 
hours of editorial counsel. This volume and its author were served im- 
measurably by this gentleman, his expertise, judgment, and good 

The Reverend David Kessinger, O.S.B., who preceeded me in the 
Abbey's archives, laid the groundwork for this project. Without the 
service, accuracy, and perseverance of Mrs. Martha S. Hendren the 
accessibility of the monastery's historical records would never have 
been achieved. The Reverend Colman Barry, O.S.B., historian of 
Saint John Abbey in Minnesota, graciously perused the text. The 
Reverend Ambrose Keefe, O.S.B., was helpful and informative, shar- 
ing his own research generously. 

The Right Reverend Abbot-Ordinary Walter A. Coggin, O.S.B., 
Ph.D., D.D., is responsible for all the photography in this volume, 
often restoring to life images seemingly rendered useless by the pass- 
ing years. Even more importantly, however, he has for more than a 
decade lent his guidance and insight to my weak efforts to inculcate 
the wisdom of Benedictine monasticism. 

The Reverend Father Anselm Biggs, O.S.B., Ph.D., generously 
shared his expertise in Belmontana. It was Father Anselm who first 
introduced me to the riches of the Abbey's history. This scholarly 
monk and historian is possessed of a phenomenal memory and 
breadth of knowledge, talents that are complemented by his skills as a 
linguist and enriched by his faith and piety. When to him fell the task, 
by abbatial appointment, of evaluating my proposed text, his acute 
intellect and fraternal support were unfailing, and in every way 


In various times and ways, each of the monks of Belmont has 
assisted with this volume. Since approximately four hundred men 
have received the monastic habit in the course of the abbey's first 
century, however, the list does not follow. For this and all other sins 
of omission, I am sincerely sorry. 


tABle of Contents 

Preface v 

Acknowledgments viii 

Table of Contents xi 

Chronology xii 

Author's Note xvi 

Prologue: The Ideal of Benedict of Nursia xvii 

My Lord of Belmont 

Chapter I: Michael Hite 3 

Chapter II: A Dream of Slight Promise 25 

Chapter III: A Mitred Abbot 46 

Chapter IV: A Second Jurisdiction 83 

Chapter V: The Linton Legacy 133 

Chapter VI: The Mitre Exceeds the Crozier 177 

Chapter VII: A Grasp on Security 230 

Chapter VIII: The Dean 270 

Epilogue: The Crozier Turns Inward 296 

Footnotes 307 

Bibliography 368 

Index 377 



1846 Boniface Wimmer establishes the first permanent 
Benedictine colony in the United States. 

1847 John and Mary Hite immigrate to America. 

1848 The Hites settle near the Benedictine monastery of Saint 

1849 The fourth child and third son, Michael, is born to the 
Hites. He is baptized at Saint Vincent Church. 

1855 Erection of the American Cassinese Congregation of the 
Order of Saint Benedict is approved in Rome. 

1861 John Hite dies. Mary Hite remarries. Michael Hite is 
enrolled in the monastery school at Saint Vincent. 

1868 Michael Hite enters the Benedictine novitiate at Saint 
Vincent, taking the name "Leo" in religion. 

1869 Frater Leo Hite professes his monastic vows, and changes 
the spelling of his patronym to "Haid". 

1872 Frater Leo is admitted to solemn monastic vows, and is 
ordained a priest. He also begins teaching at Saint 
Vincent. Jeremiah Joseph O'Connell moves to the old 
Caldwell farm, in Gaston County, North Carolina. 

1876 Saint Vincent accepts the Caldwell farm and establishes a 
monastery and school there. 

1877 The Carolina monastery receives the name "Maryhelp" 
and the first chapel is constructed. 

1878 Julius Pohl is assigned to Maryhelp. 

1880 Felix Hintemeyer enters the monastery at Saint Vincent. 

The first permanent building at the North Carolina 
monastery is erected. 

1884 The Holy See raises the Benedictine monastery of 
Maryhelp to the rank of an abbey. 


Leo Haid is elected, confirmed, and blessed as the first 
abbot of Maryhelp. 

Saint Mary's College is chartered by the state of North 
Carolina. The first wing of the College Building is erected. 

Haid is confirmed by the Holy See as Vicar Apostolic of 
North Carolina. Boniface Wimmer dies. Oswald 
Moosmueller is removed from Savannah. 

Abbot Leo is consecrated titular bishop of Messene and 
enthroned in the Pro-Cathedral of the Vicariate Apostolic 
of North Carolina. The Maryhelp Chapter accepts 
responsibility for the Benedictine missions in Florida. A 
new wing is added to the College Building at Saint 
Mary's. Walter Leahy leaves. 

Felix Hintemeyer is appointed Prior and Vicar General. 

The Seminary is opened to diocesan students. Francis 
Meyer is cured of typhoid fever after an urgent petition to 
the Virgin Mary. Leo Haid is elected Praeses of the 
American Cassinese Congregation. 

The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is erected and blessed 
as a Pilgrimage Shrine. Another wing is added to the 
monastery. Nine counties of the Vicariate Apostolic are 
entrusted to the Order of Saint Benedict for fifty years. 

Construction begins on the new Abbey Church of 
Maryhelp. The Sisters of Mercy are welcomed to 

Katharine Drexel makes the first of her many 
contributions to the missionary work of the Catholic 
Church in North Carolina. The first Mass is celebrated in 
the new Abbey Church. Saint Maur Priory in Bristow, 
Virginia, is created. A separate wing of the monastery is 
built for the brothers. Haid goes to Rome in an effort to 
limit the power of the Abbot Primate; he attends the 
congress of Abbots-President; he fulfills the obligations of 
the decennial visit ad limina. 

James Cardinal Gibbons blesses the new Abbey Church. 
Saint Leo Priory in Florida becomes the first of 
Mary help's daughterhouses to be granted canonical 
independence. The monastery in North Carolina is 
enlarged again. Jeremiah O'Connell dies. Saint Joseph 
Institute in Bristow is opened officially. 


1897 Jubilee Hall is built at Maryhelp. Felix Hintemeyer is 
reportedly nominated to the See of Wilmington, 

1898 The College Building is completed. 

1899 The water tower is razed by fire. 

1900 The "Great Fire" destroys two-thirds of the College 
Building. Andrew Huemer dies. Haid's "missionary 
decade" begins. 

1901 Willibald Baumgartner is removed from Richmond and 
sent to Europe to recruit candidates for the monastery. 

1902 The Abbey's missions in Savannah are organized as a 
priory. Benedictine College opens there. Michael 
Mclnerney enters the Maryhelp novitiate. 

1903 Haid undertakes his second decennial visit ad limina and 
embarks on the "Grand Tour". 

1904 The library wing is appended to the Brothers' Building. 
Felix Hintemeyer is awarded an honorary doctorate by 
the Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm in Rome. 

1906 Construction begins on Saint Leo Hall. 

1909 Haid falls ill, and death is thought to be imminent. 
Diomede Falconio pontificates for the Solemnity of Saint 
Benedict. A prolonged rest is prescribed for the Abbot by 
his physicians. Thomas Oestreich is appointed rector of 
Saint Mary's College. 

1910 Maryhelp accepts the new mission in Richmond. The 
Holy See creates the Abbatia Nullius of Belmont. Haid's 
silver abbatial jubilee is celebrated. 

1911 Benedictine High School in Richmond opens. The 
petition for the erection of a new North Carolina diocese 
is not approved. 

1912 Thomas Frederick Price is incardinated into the 
Archdiocese of Baltimore. The Perry Belmont 
controversy begins. 

1913 The name of the College is changed to "Belmont Abbey 
College". The Warrenton Parish is given to the secular 
clergy, with the loss being made official the following 
year. The first Alumni Reunion is held at Belmont. 


Haid executes the third decennial visit ad limina and his 
second European tour. The Abbot is named an Assistant 
at the Pontifical Throne. 

Leo Haid is inscribed as a Count of the Apostolic Palace. 

Christopher Dennen and Michael Curley initiate the 
effort to terminate the Vicariate Apostolic of North 
Carolina. Typhoid fever assaults the inmates at Saint 
Joseph Institute. Julius Pohl is reassigned to Maryhelp. 

Haid celebrates his last jubilee. 

The fourth decennial visit ad limina is undertaken by Felix 
Hintemeyer. Hintemeyer, Haid, and Pohl die. Willibald 
Baumgartner is appointed Prior and Vicar General. 
Thomas Oestreich is removed as rector of the College. 
Vincent Taylor is elected and confirmed as the second 
Abbot Ordinary of Maryhelp. The Diocese of Raleigh is 


authors note 

1 . In rendering quotations in this volume, I have ordinarily used a 
complete orthographic version of words that in the original were ab- 
breviated. Clarity, consistency, and legibility seemed to demand this 

2. Use of various articles by the author, first published in the jour- 
nal Crescat, is by permission of the Southern Benedictine Society of 
North Carolina, Incorporated. 

3. The maps used in this volume were supplied by the North 
Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. 

4. The photographs in this volume are all reproduced from the 
resources of the Archives of the Southern Benedictine Society of 
North Carolina, Incorporated. They were prepared by The Right 
Reverend Abbot-Ordinary Walter A. Coggin, O.S.B. The 
photographs from the Haid obsequies were donated to the Archives 
by Bishop Joseph Federal. 



the ideal of Bene&ict 
of nuRsia 

The word monk is taken from the Greek monos, meaning "alone". 
The modern inference of the term is not "solitary", however, but 
"apart" or "separated". Thus, while monks seek to abdicate their 
immediate roles in society, they do not hesitate to unite into 
appropriate aggregations, organized according to the demands of 
practicality, custom, or a formal "rule". Indeed, in the Benedictine 
tradition, the common, cenobitical, life is recognized as an integral part 
of the monastic charism. 

The Benedictines take their name from Benedict of Nursia, 1 the 
sixth century father of Western monasticism. The Benedictine 
movement was spawned in young Benedict's desire for personal 
holiness, and was subsequently spread by fame, disciples, and 
Providence throughout the Catholic world. Benedict rejected the 
glamorous, if vice-prone, life of Rome and forsook the distractions of 
classical education in favor of the rigors of asceticism and prayer in 
an environment of solitude. 2 Yet as had been the case with several 
centuries of hermits before him, disciples were promptly attracted, 3 
and eventually he was offered the abbacy of a monastery. 4 

Benedict proved more zealous in his new job than the monks had 
anticipated, however. And while a poisoned beverage did not succeed 
in killing the young abbot, it did at least encourage his resignation 
from office. Benedict indulged a few moments of verbal sanctimony, 
then retreated without further delay to the realm of religious solitude. 


Nevertheless, many men heard of Benedict's integrity and his vision 
of monastic observance. These incipient monks attached themselves 
to the former abbot, and eventually at least a dozen monasteries 
came into existence, each with its own superior. 5 Benedict apparently 
took one of these posts himself, and during succeeding years refined 
his principles of monastic organization, observance, and governance, 6 
creating the document now known as the Regula Benedict!. 

In 529, he established a monastery atop the seven hundred foot 
Monte Cassino, 7 about eighty miles southeast of Rome. This was to 
become the motherhouse of Benedictine monasticism, and the 
showcase of Benedict's Regula. From this secluded site, Cassinese 
monasticism spread slowly to all of Europe, and eventually through 
most of the civilized world. 

From the perspective of governance, there evolved through the 
centuries two principal types of monasteries. There were "priories", 
which were headed by a monk appointed for a temporary term of 
office, who was to be literally the prior; he was "before" the others; he 
was the "first" in the statio, the ordering of the monastic household. 
The other type of cenobitical arrangement was considered to be of 
higher rank, however, and this was the format associated with the 
Benedictine ideal. This type of monastery was designated an "abbey", 
so called because it was headed by an abbas ("abbot"), a "father". In 
Church law, the distinctions between a priory and an abbey were 
rather complicated, but for the monks the difference was pastoral 
rather than juridical in nature, and the Benedictines favored the 
familial atmosphere of an abbey, and the paternity of an abbas. 

The "family" image used by the Benedictines also suggested a 
lasting relationship among the members, stable in character, and 
motivated by Providence. Just as the members of any family entered 
that body within the designs of the Deity, so too did the monks 
believe that they were "called" or had a "Divine vocation" to the 
vowed life of the monastery; indeed, their vocation was to a specific 
abbey, a particular monastic family. Thus the monks were not bound 
together because of their human or experiential commonality, but 
because in some mysterious way God had touched each one and 
"called" him to the abbey. This Providential character assigned to the 
familial bonds a solemn and sacred quality that encouraged the monk 
to cultivate the extraordinary and radical love for his "call" — with 
both its benisons and its blemishes— that came to exemplify the spirit 
of Benedict's monks. 

The plan for Benedictine monastic life called for autonomous 
religious families, each governed by an abbot in consultation with his 
monks. Each of the abbeys enjoyed independence from other such 


institutions, and no intermonastic superstructure — what would later 
be called an "Order"— was recommended in the Reguk. The 
monastery was to be as self-supporting as possible; farming was 
accepted as a given; 8 the house would have its own craftsmen, 9 
library, 10 and supply officers. 11 And the good works the monks 
undertook were ideally to be executed in the environment of the 
monastic enclosure, called "cloister". 12 Visitors were welcomed, 
though they were guests of the monastery rather than of any 
individual monk, 13 and there was a keen awareness of the possibility 
that in these visitors, the young, the monks assembled, and primarily 
in the abbot, the voice of Christ might be heard. 14 

Benedictines took two mottos. The first was "Peace", reflecting the 
atmosphere of men who knew they were not to judge, engage in 
worldly affairs, or otherwise distract themselves from the art of 
drawing close to God. 15 The monks' peace proceeded from a type of 
goal-centered existence that sought to place all elements of life in the 
context of God and the manner of man's attainment of perfection 
according to Divine precepts. Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus ('That in 
all things God may be glorified"), from the fifty-seventh chapter of 
the Regula, became their guiding principle. 

It was an ambitious mode of existence, prudently saved by 
Benedict from continual frustration in the hands of succeeding 
generations of monks by the wise and practical tone with which he 
imbued his Regula. It proceeded first from his insistence on the value 
of a rightly ordered, well disciplined will. 16 He seldom mentioned 
attainment, but cast the monastery, instead, as a "school of the Lord's 
service," 17 proposing that his monks were in process rather than at the 
level of perfection. Then he added a spirit of adaptability, that applied 
to everything from the horarium 18 to clothing. 19 The monks could be 
at peace, he suggested, so long as they sought to fulfill the three vows: 
conversatio (conversion of the manner of life to the monastic form), 20 
stability (allegiance or adherence to the particular monastery and its 
observance), and obedience as detailed in the Regula. 

The other motto of Benedict's monks covered less theoretical 
concerns: Ora et labora, it specified, "work and pray." These two 
elements— practiced in the context of conversation stability, and 
obedience — were the primary means of the Benedictine spiritual life. 
Work took all forms. There were agriculture, 21 household duties, 22 
management positions; 23 the young had to be educated and trained; 24 
craftsmen were to be encouraged in their work, too, so long as the 
integrity of the three vows was maintained. 25 Benedict did not provide 
for recreation, be it common, social, or extraordinary. Celebrations 
were discussed in the context only of liturgy. Distraction, in any 
medium, was unwelcome. 


The prayer of the monks took two forms. Prayer in common, 
according to the Regula, was structured, 26 brief, 27 and sensitive to the 
liturgical calendar; 28 Scripture, especially psalms, was emphasized. 
The Divine Office, as the common prayer would come to be known, 
was solemn in character, 29 austere in form, 30 and viewed as a means, 
rather than an end, as a practical effort expended as part of the 
journey to God. Benedict called it the opus dei, the "work of God," 
and told the monks to prefer nothing above it, 31 and to vie with one 
another in hastening to the community's common prayer. 32 

The prayer of individuals was treated more sparingly in the Regula, 
though its mandate was no less clear. In both the public and private 
aspects of prayer, reading — called lectio divina — of Scripture and 
Patristics was emphasized as a font of meditation. 33 

On all levels, Benedict's Regula was a masterful document, 
permeated with discretion, moderation, adaptability, and 
psychological insight. These qualities allowed its vigorous 
promulgation throughout the world, but they also opened the portals 
of laxity and decline, 34 for adaptation was readily taken to extremes. 
That, in turn, would hurt the spirit and zeal of the monks, and finally 
the whole quality of monastic observance could be damaged. Thus as 
surely as the Regula provided fodder for a rather extraordinary golden 
age — indeed several golden ages of monasticism — those same 
qualities also sponsored an endless series of aberrations and monastic 
institutes with a decidedly perfunctory observance. The course 
charted by the Regula Benedicti never demonstrated the clarity that 
characterized its image among those outside the cloister. 

Gregory the Great, 35 the first Roman Pontiff drawn from the 
Benedictines' own number, was the father of the broadening of 
Benedict's concept of monasticism. Gregory took these monks — who 
were supposed to do their good works in the environment of the 
cloister — and sent them to the English isles in 596, as missionaries. 

These first Benedictine missionaries served as the impetus for the 
transition in Benedictinism which eventually carried it to the western 
hemisphere. Their general procedure was simple, involving the 
establishment of monastic centers to which the locals were to be 
initially attracted by architecture, ceremony, and the extraordinary 
lifestyle led by the monks. These cenobites broadened Benedictinism 
with their participation in the arts, 36 scholarship, 37 schools, 38 and other 
innovations in the character of monasticism. The missionary monks 
sought to evangelize by living as exemplars, presbyters, and bishops 
until a local clergy was developed. That process required, as a general 
principle, one century, after which the monastic life might be led 
again under a more primitive standard. This was not, of course, a 


rule, but it did become something of an ideal or goal through the 
succeeding generations of evangelical labor. By keeping in mind that 
a monastery's missionary activities were not perpetual in character, 
Benedictines could assuage the difficulties that attended the 
acceptance of immediate extra-claustral duties. The century-mark 
gave some legitimacy to those early compromises, too. But the 
primary value of the temporal boundary was the objective it erected 
before later generations of monks, suggesting an inevitable and 
laudable change that was to come. And there commonly emerged 
from the missionary period stable, well-supported, prestigious, often 
very powerful abbeys. 

Pope Gregory II 39 sent English Benedictines, in 722, as missionaries 
to Thuringia and Hesse, and eventually to Bavaria and Westphalia as 
well. Primacy in this group belonged to Boniface of Crediton, who 
was supported by a variety of relatives and others. Among these were 
his nephews Willibald and Winnebald, their sister Walburga, and the 
beautiful Lioba, who was both cousin and confidante of Bishop 

The German missonaries generally took a different approach than 
had the apostles to England. On the continent, the virgin territory 
was larger; the heathens were less civilized, 40 and their needs 
different. Thus a greater tradition of preaching developed. The 
monks spread throughout the land, while only a few waited for 
natives to knock at the monastery door. The Germans were 
instructed in agricultural techniques by the monks, and the nuns fed 
and clothed the poor. In Germany the example was less liturgical and 
artistic than the English missionary work had been. In their new 
mission fields, the Benedictines became servants of the poor, 
providing corporal works of mercy as often as spiritual ones. But they 
also preached, taught, 41 and won converts. And yet, despite their 
revised missionary format, after their first century concluded, the 
Benedictines saw the number of monk-bishops start declining — as 
had been the pattern in previous areas the Order evangelized — and 
the more traditional standards of cloister and observance gradually 
took hold. 

Through the next millennium, German monasticism variously 
grew strong, faded, revived; then the evanescence began again, until 
in the eighteenth century, the Order there neared extinction. But in 
the nineteenth century, the grand archabbey of Saint Michael at 
Metten was resurrected, and received novices. From that Bavarian 
abbey, in 1846, a new generation of missionary Benedictines set 
forth. Their destination was the United States of America, where 
Catholics were a minority, and where the Holy See had assigned the 
designation "mission territory". 


For the nineteenth century move into the missions, it was not a 
Roman Pontiff who commissioned Benedictines for the apostolic 
work of the new territory, but a headstrong young cleric, with a 
rather minimal foundation in the monastic life. Though he had spent 
only two of his thirteen years of monastic profession in his own 
monastery, his ambition on behalf of the Order of Saint Benedict 
supplied for the deficiency of experience. Through this man, the 
Benedictines stretched toward North America. There, in only four 
decades, he guided five monasteries to abbatial rank. 42 This 
Benedictine apostle to the New World was Boniface Wimmer. 43 It 
was under his shadow and that of his principal abbey, Saint Vincent, 
that Leo Haid was born, professed the vows of the Order of Saint 
Benedict, and rose to his first prelacy. It was also at Saint Vincent 
that this young man learned and embraced the values of Benedict of 
Nursia, from which there would arise the unceasing conflicts that 
plagued his adult life. 





Chaptep l: 

michael hite 

Diomede Falconio, Titular Archbishop of Larissa, and Apostolic 
Delegate to the United States, boarded train number thirty-seven at 
the Washington depot on Sunday evening, 16 October 1910. The 
Archbishop was accompanied by Owen Corrigan, auxiliary bishop of 
Baltimore, and by a valise of Papal documents pertinent to the 
journey. To accomodate the Delegate's mission, Belmont Township 
in Gaston County, North Carolina, had been added to the train's 
itinerary, and Southern Railway President W.W. Finley had 
personally made the bishops' travel arrangements. 1 

The train left Washington at forty-five minutes past ten o'clock 
that evening, stopped in Richmond where Father Edward Meyer, 
O.S.B., was added to the official party, then proceeded through the 
night toward the Carolinas. The clergymen reached the Belmont 
station as scheduled at twenty minutes past ten o'clock on Monday 
morning, and immediately entered a waiting automobile festooned in 
the Papal colors and those of Saint Mary's College. 2 

The prelates traveled north then, toward their destination. They 
detoured briefly to pass through the grounds of the Sisters of Mercy 
in Belmont, then continued on toward the Benedictine monastery of 
Maryhelp and the campus of Saint Mary's College. The Pope had 
sent his representative to the Carolina abbey to promulgate the Bulla 
issued on 8 June, erecting for the first time on the North American 
continent a Cathedral Abbey, territorially independent of all existing 



diocesan boundaries. It was the highest rank a monastery could be 
granted. 3 

As the Delegate's car touched the abbey grounds, the monastery's 
bells began to peal and the college band started playing. 4 There was a 
grand arch welcoming the officials. 5 They passed beneath that, past 
the musicians in the pine grove, between the dutifully assembled rows 
of cheering students, and finally stopped at the abbey's porte 
cochere. 6 It was there that their host first stepped forward. He was an 
erect man in a monk's habit and episcopal zuchetto; his pectoral cross 
was gold, and studded with jewels, but his appearance was dominated 
by a fine-textured white beard which extended in length to mid-chest. 
This was Leo Haid, first abbot of Maryhelp, Titular Bishop of 
Messene, Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina, and now Abbot Nullius 
of Belmont. The abbot greeted the Pope's ambassador, and the 
Delegate in his turn acknowledged Haid with an inclination of the 
head, the extension of his hand, and the greeting, "My Lord of 
Belmont." The assembled monks and students responded with 

Haid had expended a quarter-century of effort to secure the future 
of his monastery. Lost as it was in a rural county of America's most 
Protestant state, Maryhelp had shown little promise. But this official 
visit and the Bulla to be read the following day legitimized his efforts. 
And Haid could not but have been aware that the unlikely choice of 
his monastery for these ecclesial distinctions was primarily a 
reflection of his own work and leadership. 7 He had guided the success 
of his abbey, created the area's first Catholic seminary, guided the 
college at Belmont, and fathered new monasteries in Florida, 
Savannah, Richmond, and northern Virginia. The abbot had also 
been named the bishop 8 for all of Catholic North Carolina and 
president of his branch of the Order of Saint Benedict. 9 
Unquestionably, Haid's efforts had borne fruit. And the Lord of 
Belmont would be content, in those mid-October days of honors and 
festivities, to salute his abbey's elevation without any mention of the 
charges he knew were being brought against his administration by 
disaffected clergy in Carolina and the increasingly suspicious 
hierarchy of the Church in the United States. 

At age sixty -one, the Abbot-Bishop of Belmont was still a man of 
distinguished presence and undaunted vigor. And the unanticipated 
resentment toward the Nullius was not to overshadow this 
resplendent moment of achievement. Apostolic Delegates were a rare 
sight in the Protestant South, and the presence of the regal Falconio 
at the promulgation of Belmont's greatest honor constituted a high 
personal tribute to Haid's stature. The moment was an impenetrable 

instant of satisfaction. The priests, the monks, the students and laity, 
none of them could impose on this scene the hostility that surrounded 
it. Here, in the company of the Pope's personal representative, Leo 
Haid stood in witness to the success of his painful transition from 
second-choice abbot, filled with insecurities, to abbot-bishop and 
Ordinary of two ecclesiastical Sees. Experience during twenty-five 
years in North Carolina had not taught him gently, but he had dealt 
with every commission Rome and Providence had imposed on him, 
and these latest tempests were to enjoy no more indulgence than had 
their predecessors. The nullius ceremonies progressed in every detail 
according to the abbot's wishes. 

The man who governed the first abbey in the American South was 
not a Southerner by birth, having moved to Carolina only out of 
duty. Leo Haid was born in Unity Township, near Beatty, in western 
Pennsylvania, on 15 July 1849. 10 His parents were German-speaking 
immigrants. John, his father, was a native of Remischen, Luxemburg- 
Hollandin. 11 Trained as a cooper, John gave himself first to his craft, 
and only later took a bride, Mary Stetter, a Prussian girl, more than a 
decade his junior. 12 They had two children, Margaret and John, 
before leaving for America in 1847. 13 

In the New World, they lived briefly in Armstrong County, 
Pennsylvania, 14 but finally settled in Westmoreland County before 
the birth of their next child, Joseph, in 1848. 13 John Hite went to 
work immediately, to support his growing family. He drew a salary as 
a cooper, then augmented that income with work as a nurseryman. 

The German settlement was substantial in Westmoreland County. 
It was heavily Catholic, too, with its priests being supplied by the 
local Benedictine monastery of Saint Vincent. The monks gave 
themselves generously in ministering to the immigrants' needs, 
bonded to these people by shared experience; for the Benedictines 
themselves were recent arrivals from Bavaria, having passed through 
customs in New York on 15 September 1846. But the monks had 
quickly established themselves in western Pennsylvania through 
agriculture, schools, and parishes. Indeed the church for Saint 
Vincent was firstly a parish church, so the future abbot of Mary help 
was baptized there, in the monastery -parish, by Father Celestine 
Englbrecht, O.S.B., on 17 August 1849. The boy was christened 
"Michael Hite". 16 

The early life of Michael is largely unrecorded. Part of the 
obscurity springs from the family name. At the time of Michael's 
birth, the family still consistently used "Hite". But as the children 
matured, variations appeared, apparently in an effort to appease 
American pronunciation. In the confusion, family records were lost 

and obscured. The children of John and Mary Hite became variously 
"Haid", "Hidt", and "Heid", as well as "Hite", and only through the 
diligence of Joseph's grandson Arthur, a proficient genealogist, was 
the Hite family in its several branches finally reconstructed a century 
later. 17 

Michael's birth was followed by that of Francis ( 185 1 ), John Paul 
(1853 ), Augusto (1855 ), Mary Philomena (1857 ), Anna Barbara 
(1859 ), and William Ignatius ( 1861 ). Surprisingly, it was not Mrs. 
Hite, but her husband who died young. John's death, reportedly in a 
railroad accident, 18 occurred just before William Ignatius' birth. 
Despite his two employments, John Hite had little to leave his widow 
except a house filled with dependent children. But Mary remarried 
rather quickly, this time to Anthony Wilbert, a man about eighteen 
years her senior. Then in 1863, Mary Stetter Hite Wilbert bore one 
last child, Anthony Wilbert, Junior. 19 

After their marriage, the Wilberts relocated in Pittsburgh, where 
Mary worked as a domestic, 20 but it appears that young Michael was 
never part of his stepfather's household. For in 1861, already 
determined to set about his life's work, Michael Hite was enrolled in 
the scholasticate at Saint Vincent Abbey. He was twelve years old. 21 

In the scholasticate, an educational program for young priesthood 
candidates, Michael Hite studied classics primarily, but also took 
some commercial courses. The boys were taught discipline and 
ascetics, too; they lived on the monastery's grounds and worked on 
the abbey farm, but most of all they imbibed the flavor and content 
of the religious ethos that surrounded them. At so young an age, the 
boys were not expected to declare their preference for either the 
diocesan priesthood or the monastic, but Michael — baptized at the 
abbey, and educated there as well-— seems to have set his mind from 
the beginning on the life of a monk-priest. In 1863 he declared his 
intentions, and on 12 September 1868, he received the habit of a 
Benedictine novice. 22 

By age nineteen, Michael Hite showed most of the features that 
would distinguish his appearance throughout his life. Only the beard 
was missing. 23 He had matured with large, strikingly limped, brown 
eyes that distracted attention from his aquiline nose. 24 The boy was 
still painfully thin in those days, and his angular frame made him 
seem taller than he really was. But his wide hands and long fingers 
already moved with a fluidity and grace that softened his appearance. 
His voice was more powerful than rich, but a flair for dramatics and 
interpretive speech transformed it into an effective instrument. His 
hair was unruly and looked unkempt. 25 

In the monastery, Michael received Pope Saint Leo the Great as 

his patron saint, and was henceforth termed "Leo". 26 Until 
ordination, his title was "frater". As a novice monk, Frater Leo was 
instructed in the Benedictine Regula, the observance of Saint Vincent 
Abbey, monastic history, Gregorian chant, liturgy, Latin, psalmody, 
and related subjects. He followed a strict monastic horarium and was 
carefully supervised, instructed and corrected by the Magister. Hite 
found himself serving as a field laborer, a table waiter. He assisted the 
sick and infirm. The novitiate was supposed to teach the tools of the 
art of monasticism by instilling a great and unquenchable thirst for 
God. The desire for God was approached then, though the traditional 
Benedictine media of prayer, work, and virtue, of humility and love, 
poverty and faith. Though he had lived in the shadow of Saint 
Vincent all his life, dwelled beside the monks for seven years, it was 
not until Michael Hite became Frater Novice Leo in 1868, donning 
the monastic habit and committing himself to the cenobitical regimen 
at Saint Vincent, that he formally entered the fourteen hundred year 
old Benedictine tradition. 

Pennsylvania Benedictines 

The Abbey of Saint Vincent was not just ruled by Boniface 
Wimmer, its abbot, it was inspired by him. His character was stamped 
on every aspect of Benedictine life there. For Abbot Boniface had not 
just brought the traditions of Benedict's monks to a new country; he 
had also labeled them with a spirit as adventurous as was his own. 

Originally a secular priest of Regensburg, Wimmer had won 
admission to the first novitiate class at Saint Michael Abbey, Metten, 
Bavaria, after the monastery was restored in 1830 by Ludwig I. 
Father Boniface was the second of five novices, each of whom came 
from the diocesan clergy, to pronounce his vows. Wimmer possessed 
unbounded energy, resilience and vision. And though his 
stubbornness and self-will would receive more attention than any 
sanctity he may have shown, his legacy as a monastic builder is 

When Boniface Wimmer set out to establish the Benedictine Order 
in the United States, he decided to use priestly ministry to the 
immigrant Germans as his primary medium of contact. His plan also 
called for the establishment of schools as a lasting apostolate for his 
monasteries. Stability would be lent to the Benedictine presence, he 
resolved, through strong abbeys that owned land, staffed their 
schools, lived the Benedictine life, and insured a degree of self- 
sufficiency through the existence of both ordained and non-ordained 


monks, both in quantity, at each foundation. His success was 
extraordinary. And even though time and monastic theology would 
not always treat his ambitions kindly, that he secured his ends stands 
unimpugned. 27 

Nevertheless, throughout his abbatial career, Boniface Wimmer 
had to fight for his standards of monastic life. His followers regularly 
chastised him for the apparent primacy given to apostolic endeavors 
over more cloistered responsibilities. The abbot was also charged with 
stealing the best professors from the schools and sending them into 
his fledgling foundations. His houses were suspected— though 
generally exonerated— of being lax. Although the list of accusations 
is substantial, the criticisms do not always note that Wimmer was 
clearly in the tradition of Benedictine missionaries: the first century 
was filled with activity and growth; he insisted on such features as an 
emphasis on culture and the arts in his schools; 28 through his 
seminary he sought to promote and establish a native clergy. 29 
Nevertheless, he was in the German, not the English, tradition of 
missionary Benedictines: his monks went out to the people. 

The monastic vision of Boniface Wimmer required a high level of 
activity. And depending as it did on missionary contact, the monks 
were called upon to be away from the motherhouse for long periods 
of time, often years. This was a problem for monks, even missionary 
monks, and Abbot Boniface magnified it by proving a tremendous 
success. His followers spread throughout the country, establishing 
some of the largest monasteries of modern times. Many of these had 
schools, too. Thus, in addition to the regular pastoral travels of 
missionaries, monks also had to be sent for studies, as preparation for 
the classroom. The better one was at his work, the more likely it was 
that he would soon be transferred to new foundations that needed 
zealous missionaries for their large territories, or experienced teachers 
to establish the most recent Benedictine school or college. 

The growth and breadth of Wimmer's dream were so staggering 
that Pius IX erected the American children of Wimmer as a separate 
congregation within the Order of Saint Benedict at the early date of 
24 August 1855. Having its own federation was a tremendous 
advantage for Wimmer's concept of monasticism, because it 
permitted the new American monasteries to be confirmed in their 
particular, Wimmer-inspired character and identity, with minimal 
influence from European monastics. This aided in establishing in 
North America the otherwise disjointed Order. 

Of course the Benedictines were already free of much of the 
internal hierarchy that characterized some religious Orders. 
Monasteries in the Order of Saint Benedict were each constituted as 


independent polities. There was no international superior for the 
Benedictines. Indeed, when the office of "Abbot Primate" was 
created, it was not endowed with powers, as much as with 
precedence. The primate did not rule; at best he coordinated the 
"Confederation" of Benedictine monasteries. Within the 
Confederation, the Holy See could erect any number of 
congregations. These groupings consisted of independent monasteries 
linked by factors such as origin, location, or other common elements. 
Each congregation had a praeses, or president, who coordinated 
dealings with Rome. The monasteries of a congregation conducted 
visitations — scrutinies of the observance in a particular abbey — but 
there was no central authority within the Order that dictated norms 
or requirements. 

With the erection of his new American congregation, under the 
patronage of the Holy Guardian Angels, Wimmer won some valuable 
concessions including his personal appointment to a life term as 
praeses; he was also to acquire for his monasteries the privileges of the 
Cassinese Congregation of Benedictines. By replacing his Bavarian 
statutes with those of the monasteries gathered around 
Montecassino, the Order's primary See, he secured the American 
Cassinese Congregation, as the new division was known, as a more 
viable and coordinated ecclesial entity. And with himself as the 
congregation's head, he was assured of maximum influence in 
realizing his dreams. 

Accordingly, the American Cassinese Congregation, under Abbot 
Boniface, was established from the beginning as a broadly based 
enterprise of diversified interests — as multifarious as the vision of 
Wimmer himself. Thus the monks were not just priests and 
schoolmasters; the abbot also emphasized, for example, the arts. So 
he sent monks to study painting in Bavaria; he sought musicians for 
his cloister; and men proficient in these areas were spread among 
Wimmer's monasteries to foster artistic values and performances. 

Perhaps worst of all, in terms of stability, were not the artists, 
however, but the craftsmen. These men, mostly non-ordained monks, 
the Brothers, were usually spared duties in the parishes, and only on 
occasion were they assigned to the schools. But with their skills for 
cooking, farming, masonry, construction, tailoring, and countless 
other tasks, they were always in demand, and thus they were forever 
being transferred from one of Wimmer's young monasteries to 

The monasticism of Boniface Wimmer was breathless. It spread at 
a fantastic rate. Vocations came from Europe and America; young 
men entered the novitiate in Pennsylvania, then spread the values of 

Benedict—and Abbot Wimmer — throughout these broad, American 
fields of labor. 

Wimmer himself was a hearty Bavarian, thick and sturdy looking, 
with deep lines in his brow and a full white beard that stopped 
abruptly at breast level with a perfectly trimmed horizontal line. 
Wimmer was bombastic and forceful. He wore the mitre as a symbol 
of authority, of course, but also as a reminder of power. And he 
would vent that power according to demand and necessity. He was 
hated or loved, idolized or despised. There was no median level with 
Boniface Wimmer. He would fight with bishops; he would fight with 
monks. But he usually won, and just in case a poor loser tried to 
appeal to Rome, the abbot cultivated a firm cadre of supportive 
prelates in or near the Curia to fight for his positions. He was known 
as the "farmer abbot," but he was recognized primarily as prelate and 
praeses, and anyone who challenged him knew that effort would 
require a mighty struggle. 

Although the abbot of Saint Vincent was not known for his 
gentleness, his deeply pastoral concern was above question. Despite 
the flair for bombast, his apostolic character was never obscured. 
Abbot Boniface was genuinely devoted to his work; some thought 
him a tyrant and an egomaniac; he was unquestionably self-willed 
and liberal in his treatment of traditional Benedictinism. At the same 
time, however, he so obviously enjoyed what he did that he inspired 
great love, affection and admiration. In the forty-one years of his 
service in America, of the hundreds of men who were drawn to enter 
the monastic life, apparently as many were drawn by the excitement 
and oversized presence of Abbot Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., as by the 
more traditional longings of the soul for the monastic values and 
commitment. And even those who disliked the Pennsylvania abbot 
gave him credit for his wholehearted pursuit of the principles of his 
monastic insight. 30 

WimmeR's monk 

Because the Hites lived in the shadow of Wimmer's abbey, Michael 
from his earliest days was aware of Abbot Boniface and his monks. 
The Benedictines' church was always the Hites' parish, and Johnny, 
Joseph, and Michael, as children, assisted at the liturgies and 
solemnities there. As a student, the vision of Wimmer sharpened for 
young Michael, and the enthusiasm of those fervent missionary days 
in Saint Vincent's history infected his zealous and idealistic spirit. He 
fell in love with the larger-than-life presence of Boniface Wimmer and 


his dreams. Then, as a scholastic, Michael lived on the monastery 
grounds and was drawn even more under the influence and attraction 
monasticism — and Wimmer himself— held. 

But in 1868, when Hite entered the monastic life, the dreams and 
ideals could easily have been shattered, for the perspective was 
radically altered, facto. Life in the monastery seldom lent the clarity 
an outsider's view accommodated. And Frater Leo would have 
known, from within the cloister, the full complement of issues that 
existed in nineteenth century monasticism. This realization of the 
complexity of cloistered life often hit young monks with a frightening 
ferocity. It could threaten weaker novices; it tended to enthrall and 
intoxicate the mediocre candidates. But for some — usually the more 
mature young men — the impact could constitute a challenge in the 
most positive sense. Nevertheless, regardless of the type of effect, all 
novices found that they had to discover means of coping with the 
internal issues of the monastery. And the manner of this coping 
colored the future of the novice in a way he could neither escape nor 

At Saint Vincent in the 1860's, the issues that could not but 
influence novitiate idealism centered primarily on this active 
character with which Wimmer had imbued American monasticism. 
His emphasis on active, essentially priestly, endeavors seemed in the 
eyes of many to undercut the monastic character of the house. The 
balance between ora and labora was always delicate, and a problem 
that was only compounded by extraclaustral assignments. Thus 
Wimmer's expansionism provoked a continuous debate in 
Pennsylvania regarding Benedictine integrity. And since novices 
grappled with integrity as one of their special problems, 31 Hite would 
have been particularly susceptible to the undercurrents of his new 

And yet with the budding adaptability and strength of will that 
would function throughout his life, Frater Leo seems to have dealt 
efficiently with this challenge: Hite simply gave himself totally to the 
guidance of Wimmer. To the extent that there were factions within 
Saint Vincent, 32 Frater Leo was definitely aligned from the beginning 
with the abbot. And even with maturation in the monastic life, there 
came no compromise of his affinity for the charismatic archabbot of 

This immersion in personal loyalty to the founder of American 
monasticism gave Hite a strong identity with Wimmer's missionary 
spirit. 33 It also influenced the values Leo, as an abbot himself, would 
communicate to his own monasteries. The positive relationship with 
Wimmer, furthermore, solidified in Hite the qualities of professional 

optimism, idealism, and enthusiasm which underscored his future 
monastic and apostolic activity. The impact Wimmer had on Hite, 
and the fierce loyalty the younger monk maintained toward his 
monastic father, were all the more amazing because the two men 
were never especially close. Wimmer, well known as he was for 
naming his opponents to positions of leadership, entrusted no office 
expressive of particular confidence to Father Leo; neither did the 
abbot give any evidence of favor or recognition of promise. Hite was 
not Wimmer's first choice for the Carolina abbacy; indeed, on the 
first ballot Leo Hite's name did not appear as anyone's nominee for 
the office. 

The early years of Hite's monastic life passed in the ordinary 
sequence and with little distinction. On 17 September 1869, Frater 
Leo pronounced his monastic vows of stability, conversation and 
obedience. It was at this point that he made the change in his 
cognomen: occasional variations notwithstanding, he became "Leo 
Haid". 34 

The period following the monk's first profession of vows was 
known as the "clericate". During this time the newly professed monk 
concentrated on his studies for priesthood. Since Saint Vincent had 
its own seminary, Haid remained at the Westmoreland abbey. His 
mother and stepfather occasionally visited him there, but it would 
have been extraordinary for the cleric to visit them in Pittsburgh 
even though he was enrolled in some commercial courses in the city. 35 

A young monk's clericate lasted for a minimum period of three 
years, after which an application might be made for solemn vows. 
This second profession constituted a permanent commitment, and 
was permitted only after careful scrutiny by the monastic Chapter 
and after the approbation of the abbot had been granted. Despite 
solemn vows the monk would remain in the clericate, however, 
pending ordination to priesthood. Whereas in these early days at 
Saint Vincent the brothers lived the established monastic routine 
from the time of their vows, the cleric-monks did not enter into what 
would be their ordinary regimen until after the reception of Major 
Orders. Regular assignments, be they educational, parochial or 
otherwise, seldom preceded priestly ordination. 

Frater Leo Haid professed his solemn monastic vows in Saint 
Vincent Church on 5 October 1872. Soon afterwards, he was 
ordained to Minor Orders. And on 21 December of that same year, at 
the hands of Bishop Michael Domenec, CM., he was ordained to the 
priesthood, 36 and took his place among the fathers in the monastic 
statio — the ordering of the monks according to their response to the 
"call" of God. 

Haid had already entered upon some of the duties that ordinarily 
followed on priesthood, however. For at the beginning of the 
Michaelmas term at Saint Vincent College that year, Haid had 
commenced his service in the classroom and undertaken the 
chaplaincy of the college. Like all of the monk-professors, Father Leo 
taught whatever subjects were assigned him — his training, after all, 
was generally undistinguished from that of most of the other fathers. 
Thus, in his first year Haid found himself listed as a professor of 
English grammar, commercial law, bookkeeping, spelling, and 

His success in the classroom and his popularity among the boys 
studying at Saint Vincent was immediate, and his duties in the 
schools went uninterrupted for the next thirteen years. Indeed, Haid 
was never assigned to a parish or daughterhouse. He may have 
performed some interim service as a priestly assistant, but he was 
primarily a school monk. 

In 1873 he found composition and elocution appended to his 
teaching load, and he undertook service with the dramatics society at 
Saint Vincent. In 1875, history was added to his classroom duties. 
Subsequently, through the years, he found himself instructing in 
penmanship, political economy, civil government, English post- 
graduate studies, and the various commercial courses offered at the 
time. 37 He also wrote plays. His Major John Andre was published and 
widely circulated, 38 and \i\s Saint Hermenegild of Spain was only slightly 
less popular among the pious tastes of the Catholic schools of the 

During these years, Father Leo matured into an edifying, if 
inconspicuous, young religious. He had the solid health to maintain 
the hectic pace his duties required of him, and Abbot Boniface, 
characteristically, rewarded extraordinary service with an ever 
increasing quantity of responsibilities. Haid's incredible capacity for 
work and his growing popularity secured his position as a school- 
monk. Moreover, Father Leo was wholly and unquestionably 
dedicated to Wimmer and his ideal, to Saint Vincent and to her 
schools. But none of these factors won advancement for Haid. It was 
charism that the young priest exhibited, not leadership; and Wimmer 
neither promoted Father Leo nor tested him in the Benedictine 
missions. Haid, for his part, did not volunteer for any of the three 
abbeys that achieved independence during his time as a monk of 
Saint Vincent, and he gave every evidence of being contented in the 
work of the schools, where he could remain near his mentor, Abbot 
Boniface. 39 

The abbot was apparently satisfied with this arrangement, too. 
Given the turmoil which so frequently surrounded him, loyal sons 
among his more gifted monks never seemed particularly bountiful in 
Wimmer's monastery. But circumstances conspired against Haid's life 
in the schools at Saint Vincent, and the simple peace with which he 
finished the spring term in 1885 was never to be restored to him. 

the monasteRies Of 1884 

Boniface Wimmer enjoyed a prolific paternity. After thirty years in 
America, he was responsible for the existence of three hundred fifty 
Benedictine monks at twelve monasteries (three of which were 
abbeys), seventy parochial churches and five schools. 40 In 1881, 
Wimmer began to envision a new abbey, however, and by 1883, 
when he was the proud possessor of the honorific title of 
"archabbot", and the privilege of wearing the cappa magna, his vision 
swelled toward the creation of two new abbeys at once. As usual, the 
course of this effort was circuitous. 

The first of these abbeys was to be fashioned from the priory and 
parish in Newark, New Jersey. Though its location was too urban to 
suit Wimmer, he did believe the monastery had promise. To 
contribute to the potential of the new abbey in Newark, he intended 
to attach the foundations in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Wilmington, 
Delaware, as dependencies. 41 

At the General Chapter of the American Cassinese Congregation, 
held at Saint Vincent in the summer of 1881, Wimmer had 
introduced a resolution calling for a petition to Rome, asking that 
Saint Mary, in Newark, be elevated to the rank of an abbey. 
Wimmer's resolution was worded craftily, so that while approving 
Newark's independence, the capitulars would endorse in the same 
effort the concept of even more abbeys. It read 

The rather large number of dependent priories of Saint Vincent renders it 
difficult to govern them well. Therefore it seems best to establish several 
independent houses. To begin at least with one: Saint Mary's, in Newark, 
New Jersey; it should be raised to such a rank, because the Right Reverend 
Bishops of the See have already earnestly expressed the wish of having such 
a community. 42 

As so often happened, however, Wimmer had misread the tenor of 
his monks. It was not a good year for expansionism. The Cassinese 
congregation was on the verge in 1881 of one of its greatest disputes 
over the active character of American monasticism, and Wimmer 
found his resolution defeated. 

Undaunted, however, Abbot Boniface began considering that not 
only New Jersey should be an abbey, but perhaps as many as four 
others, as well, one each in the West (Chicago, Wetaug), Southeast 
(Baltimore, Richmond, North Carolina), South (Alabama), and 
Pennsylvania (Saint Mary's, Erie). 43 

While Wimmer's ambitions were unrealistic in the face of the 
conditions of the scattered missions he sought to liberate from the 
motherhouse, he had correctly — if belatedly — recognized the 
excessive commitments for which Saint Vincent was accountable. 
And this, rather than expansionism, was an argument that would 
appeal to the capitulars: already in his seventies, and tired by fifty 
years in religion, Abbot Boniface was no longer able, it seemed, to 
supervise a national network of dependent monasteries; his vigor was 
declining. Unfortunately, while this argument constituted grounds 
for relieving the abbot of some of his dependencies, it did not really 
justify canonical independence for these scattered, unstable 
foundations. 44 

In 1882, opposition to monastic expansionism was too strong for 
Wimmer to make a fresh push for abbeys. But in the spring of 1883, 
the wily patriarch began sampling opinions and pushing his new 
strategy, only to find himself distracted by poor health and the 
elaborate preparations, celebrations, and honors that marked his 
golden jubilee of monastic profession. 45 

The ambitions for 1883, which envisioned (by this time) two new 
abbeys, did not die, however, amid these diversions. Newark, with its 
two dependencies, remained at the head of Wimmer's list. The second 
proposed foundation was now to be a union of three southern 
missions: Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. Wimmer decided 
that the monastery in Garibaldi, North Carolina would hold the 
abbatial rank. It was not necessarily the most promising or even the 
most important of the three sites; rather, it was the most centrally 
located, lying approximately three hundred miles from each of the 
other foundations, according to Wimmer's estimate. 46 

North Carolina, Wimmer theorized, could not support itself. The 
whole state had about two thousand Catholics, not one of whom, he 
thought, lived near the monastery. 47 The foundation had only one 
brick building and two of wood, with facilities for six priests, eight 
brothers, and sixty students. 48 In the fall of 1 883, however, the school 
had only fifteen students, and even lowering the fee for board and 
tuition from one hundred eighty to one hundred fifty dollars gave 
little help to the sagging enrollment. 49 Wimmer was certain, 
nonetheless, that the monastery of Maryhelp was the "foothold for 
the Catholic Church in the whole state." 50 

Savannah, however, was a very promising foundation. It had seven 
hundred acres — two hundred more than North Carolina — that were 
fertile fields for rice and cotton. In addition to the farm there was 
parochial work and a small institute for young black males. 51 Both 
Savannah and Richmond could boast of having a contingent of 
interested, supportive, local Catholics. And Richmond, though it 
lacked a farm, had a strong, successful, debt-free parish 52 that could 
contribute one thousand dollars a year to Garibaldi. 53 

To promote his new abbeys, Wimmer first consulted his two fellow 
Cassinese abbots. Alexius Edelbrock, of Saint John in Minnesota, 
proved favorable to the Wimmer plan. 54 And Innocent Wolf, of the 
abbey in Kansas, evaded the question, but did not explicitly object. 55 

On 8 June 1883, Wimmer addressed Henry Northrop, Catholic 
bishop of Charleston, South Carolina, who was also acting as Vicar 
Apostolic of North Carolina, requesting endorsement of the proposed 
Southern abbey. The Pennsylvania monastery promised continued 
support for Maryhelp, despite its changed status, and Wimmer deftly 
tied the whole future of monastic life in Carolina to the issue of 

After mature deliberation I came to the conclusion, that for the success of 
Maryhelp it is necessary to raise that house to the rank of a small abbey. As 
conditions are now, the Prior, the Fathers and the Brothers do not consider 
themselves permanently attached to the monastery. They are therefore, not 
taking the same interest in its prosperity, as they would, if they regarded [it] 
as their home. In a community under an abbot things will be different, 
especially in College matters." 

Northrop responded promptly and enthusiastically. 

I certainly and with a very glad heart say: God speed the work. I give my 
approval and blessing and assure you I will do whatever I can to my best 
judgment to further your plans and help you and the Order to which 
religion and the Vicariate owe already a great deal." 

Finally, his health restored, festivities ended, and with the 
endorsements of his Chapter, the episcopal Ordinaries, and the 
Cassinese abbots in hand, Wimmer petitioned Rome on 18 June 1884 
for the erection of the monasteries in Newark, New Jersey and 
Garibaldi, North Carolina, as abbeys. Subsequently, in July, three 
additional letters were sent to Rome, just as the Holy See began to 
ponder Wimmer's latest ambitions for the Benedictine Order in 

The July letters went to prelates who could promote Wimmer's 
cause in the Curia. One message went to the sixty-six year old 

Joannes Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of De Propaganda Fide. 58 The 
United States, being a mission territory, fell under the Propaganda's 
interest. A second missive enlisted the aid of Cardinal Bartolini, 
protector of the Order of Saint Benedict. Wimmer also addressed his 
Roman procurator, Abbot Pucci-Sisti, 59 to fight any idea that the time 
was not "ripe" for a North Carolina abbey. 60 

Submitting the two petitions together was a risky move, since it 
could seem imprudent and ambitious. And given the way Rome 
labored over such requests, it would have been unreasonable to 
assume Carolina could sneak through as a companion for the more 
promising house in New Jersey. But Wimmer's experience in Church 
intricacies was masterfully displayed in his petition regarding 
Carolina. Giving a marvelous illusion of candor, the abbot freely 
admitted to Simeoni that the request for Garibaldi's abbey was 
"premature," but how much greater, he pondered, might be the 
danger of delay? 61 Petitio principii is fallacious, of course, but not 
always a failure. And Wimmer was confident that his petition was 
"very strongly explained." 62 It might have been more accurate to say 
it was "cleverly" explained, but it was successful nonetheless. In late 
September the archabbot received unofficial notification by cable 
that his petitions had been approved. 

Pucci-Sisti wrote soon afterwards, however, to advise Wimmer 
that the formal documents were not to be written immediately, and 
the period of delay could not be estimated. 63 October passed, 
November, Christmas, a new year began, and still the Roman 
documents did not appear. Without them, no abbots could be elected, 
no new communities formed. Wimmer was impatient, but impeded 
from action. 64 

Then, on 14 January 1885, the archabbot's seventy-sixth birthday, 
he received the two bulls of erection. 65 Garibaldi's was dated 19 
December 1884. 66 

Northrop responded to the news with his customary warmth and 

I hope indeed that in spite of the poverty and poor prospects, the Abbey of 
Saint Mary's will flourish to the great good of religion in North Carolina 
and to the prosperity of the Order. I am most anxious to see it succeed... 67 

Wimmer was elated. He had two simultaneously created abbeys. 
Two communities needed to be formed then—each with at least ten 
monks— and each house was to have a duly elected abbot as its head. 
Wasting no time, Archabbot Boniface wrote the one hundred fifteen 
capitulars of Saint Vincent on 20 January 1885: 

Because by the Apostolic Briefs of December 19, 1884, two abbeys were 
erected, one at Saint Mary's, Newark, New Jersey; the other in North 
Carolina; Pastors and Abbots have to be provided by a canonical election. 
Therefore, since you are, as far as We know, free from any impediment of 
censure, We, Boniface Wimmer, Archabbot of Saint Vincent and President 
of the American Cassinese Congregation, invite, call and summon you 
herewith to the election which is to be held in accordance with the Sacred 
Canons and the Statutes of our Congregation in the monastery of Saint 
Vincent, February 11, 1885, at eight o'clock forenoon. We request that you 
be here in good time on the preceeding day, or if legitimately excused, to 
appoint a procurator. We admonish you and demand that you inform Us 
within ten days of the receipt of this summons. 68 

The monks of Saint Vincent journeyed to their motherhouse in 
February of 1885 from their assignments through the eastern two- 
thirds of the country. Of the one hundred fifteen capitulars, sixty- 
four were there in person; the rest were represented by proxies, 
except for eight who had failed to properly designate a procurator. In 
the election Chapter, after a resolution was passed allowing all the 
capitulars — regardless of future affiliation — to vote in each election, 
one monk stormed out. There were, finally, one hundred six possible 
votes to be cast for the abbots of Saint Mary in Newark and 
Maryhelp in Garibaldi. 69 

The election process began on 1 1 February with Mass, celebrated 
by Saint Vincent's prior, Michael Hofmayer. There followed prayers 
to the Holy Ghost, entreating presence, guidance, and protection in 
the deliberations that were to follow. Each capitular then took an 
oath testifying that he would follow the Spirit's guidance and endorse 
the worthiest candidate, abandoning personal wants or prejudices in 
favor of the guidance of Providence. James Zilliox, Hilary Pfraengle, 
and Andrew Hintenach 70 were then selected as tellars for the abbatial 
election. 71 

Saint Mary in New Jersey, as the senior monastery, was the first to 
have an abbot provided. On the first ballot thirteen men received 
votes, the thirty-five year old Zilliox earning a plurality of forty -seven 
votes. On the second ballot, Zilliox exceeded the minimum for 
election, garnering sixty-two votes. He accepted the office, received 
the applause of his confreres, and the Chapter adjourned for the opus 
dei and luncheon. 72 

The monks reconvened the Chapter at two o'clock, and proceeded 
to the election of an abbot for Maryhelp. With one vote to spare, 
there was an absolute majority, and thus an election, on the first 
ballot. Father Oswald Moosmueller was elected first abbot of 
Maryhelp. 73 

Since Father Oswald was not present, no acceptance address 
followed. Moosmueller was at his mission assignment in Savannah, 

Father Paul Wenkmann serving as his proxy at Saint Vincent. 
Accordingly, Wimmer dismissed the monks, and at four o'clock, sent 
a telegram to Bishop William Gross, C.SS.R, in Savannah, asking 
that news of the proceedings be communicated to the abbot-elect. 
The capitulars, confident in the promise of the two monks they had 
elected abbots, wasted no time in leaving the motherhouse, and 
returning to their missions and assignments. 74 

The archabbot was extremely pleased. Zilliox, a native of Newark, 
was a deeply spiritual man who, despite a less than hearty 
constitution, had filled various responsible posts in the Wimmer 
administration. Abbot-elect James had also been a leader of the 
opposition to Wimmer's activity-oriented policies. The young man 
would now have a chance to test his own theories of monastic life. 

Oswald William Moosmueller, a Bavarian native, had an even 
more impressive history than Zilliox. He was a proven administrator 
with a distinguished history of successes in Kentucky, Kansas, 
Canada, New Jersey, Georgia and Rome. He had been Wimmer's 
choice for the abbacy in Kansas in 1876, but had demurred and 
actually conspired against his election. 75 Father Oswald, like Zilliox, 
held that monastic life required a more cloistered and contemplative 
flavor than Wimmer seemed to provide. 76 

For the remainder of the afternoon, Archabbot Boniface enjoyed 
the pleasure of his accomplishments. Both of his new abbeys had 
secured respected, capable, vigorous abbots. In both cases the 
capitulars had chosen more contemplative souls than Wimmer, 
presumably selecting that character as their abbeys' future. 77 
Nevertheless, the saintly Zilliox and the scholarly Moosmueller 
represented sound futures for the communities they would head. 

At half past seven that evening, 78 as the archabbot was on his way 
to Compline, 79 he was met by the abbey's telegrapher who handed the 
patriarch a folded piece of paper. Wimmer read it, "became very 
angry," 80 grew sick with "terrible catarrh with a sore neck and 
coughing," and found he was unable to continue on his way to 
choir. 81 Knowing the contents of the message he had received and 
delivered, the telegrapher presumably beat a hasty retreat. 

The telegram was from Oswald Moosmueller. It read, "I thank you 
for the honor, but I cannot accept. Letter will follow." 82 

Later, when Wimmer had recovered somewhat, he wired vigorous 
disapproval of Father Oswald's decision to refuse election. But 
Moosmueller was adamant, and continued to decline the office 
"against every encouragement." 83 For more than a month the two 
Bavarians argued, but in the end the younger man's refusal of the 
abbacy proved insurmountable. 

Moosmueller had created problems for Saint Mary as well as for 
Mary help, since Wimmer was reluctant to petition for confirmation 
of Zilliox's election without also submitting a candidate for Carolina. 
It was possible that in the wake of the unsuccessful election, 
Mary help's independence might be suppressed, or the monastery 
might lose the right of election in the midst of the scandal. 84 
Furthermore, summoning the one hundred fifteen capitulars back for 
another election was rendered impossible by both the finances and 
the responsibilities of the missionaries. 85 Wimmer was further stymied 
by the fact that canonically, Moosmueller had up to two months in 
which to make his decision, forcing Abbot Boniface to discern 
whether to wait the full term (hoping Father Oswald would submit 
to the election ) or risk proceeding with the confirmation of Zilliox 
alone. 86 Wimmer also had to face the reality that the Holy See itself 
might choose to solve the election dilema. 87 Of Moosmueller's 
recalcitrance Wimmer concluded, "Such a trick is rather much like 
him." 88 

Despite the ire he had provoked, Father Oswald, isolated safely in 
southernmost Georgia, made every effort to appear unperturbed. He 
could not, after all, be required to accept, so Wimmer's weapons were 
severely limited. The tone assumed by Moosmueller was typified in a 
letter he addressed to Father Julius Pohl at Maryhelp. Pohl, who had 
planned to become a member of the newly independent house at 
Garibaldi, had written the abbot-elect a message of felicitations 
immediately after the election. Father Oswald's brief though pointed 
response specified that he had "telegraphed immediately" to Wimmer 
on Wednesday, 1 1 February. He added quite innocently then, "I am 
rather surprised that you should not be aware of this fact." 89 

Eventually the archabbot despaired of securing Father Oswald for 
the abbatial throne, and turned his attention to the confirmation of 
Zilliox by Rome. The request for ratification was dated 14 March 
1885, more than a month after the election. 

A second petition accompanied the Zilliox document. This was a 
carefully prepared request — that Wimmer said "took all my thoughts, 
my fingers, and pen" 90 — for a second election on behalf of Maryhelp. 
For the new conclave, Archabbot Boniface proposed that a cadre of 
ten monks committed to transferring stability to Carolina serve as the 
sole electors. This would save the expense of again summoning all the 
capitulars to Pennsylvania, and would provide a more appropriate 
constituency for the decision at issue. As he had done regarding the 
erection of Maryhelp the previous year, he also enlisted the aid of 
various prelates on behalf of this latest petition. 

There was no expectation that Rome would authorize the second 

election promptly; nevertheless, Wimmer immediately began 
preparations for the election. He wanted to be ready to execute the 
Apostolic Brief, without hindrance, when the time did come. And 
this meant that two matters should be arranged: ten monks should be 
persuaded to commit themselves to Mary help; and a suitable 
candidate for abbot should be found and quietly ( since campaigning 
and politicking were forbidden ) promoted among the ten capitulars. 
Neither of these tasks promised to be easy. 

Mary help had little to recommend it, and virtually everyone who 
had served there — both priests and brothers — had asked to be 
transferred elsewhere. Only one monk in Carolina was determined to 
stay, Julius Pohl. Also one monk each from the parishes in Richmond 
and Savannah had volunteered, Willibald Baumgartner and Melchior 
Reichert, respectively. The archabbot believed Father Placidus Pilz, 
who had been prior in Garibaldi, and Father Oswald could be 
persuaded to stay in the South, as well. But by 18 April, Pilz and 
Moosmueller had both declined to join Mary help, and Wimmer 
turned elsewhere. 91 

By appealing to the idealism of his monks — especially the young 
ones — a cleric, two priests, and one theology student were won for 
Carolina. 92 But the numbers were not stable. In a letter to Abbot 
Bernard Smith there were four monks who were already in the South 
and six from the motherhouse who had declared for Maryhelp; 93 
while in a later note addressed to that same abbot the total had fallen 
to eight, three of whom were already working in the South. 94 

When permission for the second election was received at Saint 
Vincent on 10 June, Wimmer had already outlined his course of 
action. Four of the men who had agreed to go to Maryhelp were 
fraters. But as non-ordained monks, they could cast no ballot in the 
election Chapter. The vote had no immediate deadline since 
Propaganda had thoughtfully included the provision, "Tempore quo 
opportunius videbitur. " But in order to have an abbot and community 
before the new school term, 95 and before anyone suffered a change of 
mind, Wimmer needed to act quickly. That required having the four 
clerics (Felix Hintemeyer, George Lester, Patrick Donlon, Walter 
Leahy ) ordained subdeacons so they could enjoy the franchise. 

But the road for Maryhelp, it seemed, was never to be smooth. A 
bishop who might perform the ordination was not easily found in 
Pennsylvania during the summer of 1885. Wimmer's own Ordinary 
was ill, and declined to officiate. The new coadjutor of the diocese 
had not yet been consecrated; so he could not ordain the monks. The 
next closest bishop, the Ordinary of Erie, was in Rome. As late as 20 
June, three weeks before the planned election, there was still no 

bishop who was both willing and available to raise the four potential 
electors to the subdeaconate. 96 

Finally the "good Bishop" Jeremiah Shanahan, Ordinary of 
Harrisburg, "came yet in due time," for ordinations on Saturday, 4 
July. And Wimmer wrote Pohl — not without a sense of 
triumph — "Now we are ready to proceed to the election any day we 
like." 97 

The other matter that claimed Boniface Wimmer's attention 
between February and July of 1885 was the promotion of a suitable 
candidate for the North Carolina abbacy. Various factors surfaced in 
this decision. 

1 . The candidate needed to be non-controversial enough to 
win the votes of whomever Wimmer finally persuaded to 
join Mary help. 

2. In particular, the nominee should appeal to the young, 
who with at least four of the ten votes were the largest block 
among the capitulars. 

3 . The candidate would be more appealing if he contrasted 
with Moosmueller, giving the impression that the previous 
'mistake' was being rectified. 98 

4. Given the tenor and Protestantism of the South, he 
should be native-born 99 and a good English speaker. 100 

5. And since Maryhelp's future was tied to its school, he 
should be a scholar and a school monk. 101 

It was with this reasoning that Wimmer decided on Haid for North 
Carolina, and started pushing his candidacy. Father Leo himself, of 
course, could in no way evince complicity with this movement, nor 
did he even choose to show he was aware of it. His greatest weakness, 
according to these five standards, was a possibility of controversy 
because of his advocacy of Wimmer's view of monasticism. But the 
fact that the archabbot had shown him no special favor in return 
tended to outweigh this. And Haid's tremendous popularity among 
the young, most of whom had been his students, further promoted his 
candidacy. Leo Haid was "still young, of fine complexion, devout, 
eloquent, a real pedagogue," 102 wrote the archabbot. "A man like 
Pater Leo belongs over [Mary help].... We need good people, a good 
spirit among them, a zeal for science and souls and people true to the 
Order." 103 

On 27 June, Wimmer issued the notices of a second election for the 
first abbot of Maryhelp. They were posted to Fathers Melchior 
Reichert in Savannah, Willibald Baumgartner in Richmond, 
Anastasius Mayer at Saint Vincent, Julius Pohl at Garibaldi, 104 and to 

F raters Felix Hintemeyer, George Lester, Patrick Donlon, and 
Walter Leahy in Pennsylvania. Only Father Melchior determined 
not to attend the election in person, designating Father Anastasius as 
his procurator. 105 The man elected abbot would give Mary help its 
ninth monk; then only one more would be needed, hopefully lured by 
the abbot-elect. 106 

On the evening of 13 July, the electors met to scrutinize the 
potential candidates. The next morning the Mass of the Holy Ghost 
was celebrated, the oaths taken, the Vent Creator Spiritus recited, and 
the three senior monks present, Fathers Willibald, Anastasius, and 
Julius, were elected tellars. 107 Then the vote was taken for the abbacy 
in Carolina. 

Father Julius, who kept a calendar of the election and the weeks 
that followed, recorded that the votes were counted in absolute 
silence. 108 The archabbot himself announced the results when the 
ballots had been totaled, his voice expressing the gravity the past six 
months seemed to dictate: Leo Haid, one day short of his thirty-sixth 
birthday, had been elected first abbot of Maryhelp. The vote was 
unanimous. 109 

The standard session of applause was inappropriate, however. As 
Pohl expressed it, "Joy filled the hearts of the young community. Yet 
a gloomy thought haunted them all: Will he accept?" Hintemeyer 
suggested that the abbot-elect be asked to give his response at once, 
and the archabbot dispatched the three tellers to summon Haid to 
appear before the capitulars. 110 

The three men hastened to Father Leo's cell, only to find it 
empty; 111 his office was tried without success. 112 The good fortune of 
Maryhelp seemed to be holding true to form. Nevertheless, the tellars 
waited, and when Haid returned from his constitutional he agreed to 
accompany the embassy to the Chapter Hall. 113 

Standing before the archabbot, his secretary, and the electors, Haid 
listened to the record of the day's proceedings. Father Leo had not 
volunteered to go to North Carolina; nor had he even seen the abbey 
he had just been elected to lead. Under these circumstances, 
enthusiasm escaped him. To the dismay of all assembled, Haid found 
himself unable to accept the office, and begged permission to speak 
privately with Wimmer before giving his official response. 114 

Father Julius, in a brimming indulgence of litotes, said, "Gloomy 
thoughts again forced themselves on our minds.'The abbot-elect and 
his mentor left the room. They returned a few minutes later — 
expressionless. 115 

Haid then addressed the monks. He proclaimed his warm 
appreciation for the confidence they had presumed to express in him, 

and he assured them that his reluctance to accept the office was 
rooted in his own "upright intentions," rather than in any fault of 
theirs or their abbey's. He then submitted to the election — to the 
relief of all present — and received the obeisance of the capitulars." 6 

According to Felix Fellner, long-time historian and archivist at 
Saint Vincent, "great joy became evident in the whole house," 
because they recognized Haid as "the best man for the place."" 7 The 
Te Deum was sung in the church, after which the monks and abbot- 
elect of Maryhelp visited Wimmer, at Haid's recommendation, to 
express their gratitude for the archabbot's kindness and indulgence." 8 
That evening the monks of Maryhelp gathered together with their 
new superior in the garden, and "did justice to good Saint Vincent's 
Beer" — though "everything went on with proper decorum."" 9 

The following evening, Haid's birthday, the abbot-elect gave a 
dinner in honor of his electors. 120 Wimmer did not attend, however; 
he was already working on the documents from the election. On 17 
July the materials were finished and posted to Rome imploring 
confirmation of the election of Leo Michael Haid as first abbot of the 
Abbey of Maryhelp, Garibaldi, North Carolina. 

To insure that Haid would not sit around Saint Vincent, idly 
awaiting confirmation and possibly rethinking his acceptance of the 
office, Archabbot Boniface posted a small notice for the monks. 
Acting in his capacity as praeses of the American Cassinese 
Congregation of the Order of Saint Benedict, Wimmer announced 
that, pending confirmation of the abbatial election by the Holy See, 
an interim administrator had been appointed for Maryhelp Abbey: 
Pater Leo Haid. 121 

ChapteR II: 

a Ctaeam of Slight pRomise 

In July of 1885, Leo Haid was about to enter a world completely 
unknown to him. He had never been to North Carolina, never seen 
his new abbey. Mary help had long been regarded as a pariah at Saint 
Vincent, and now Father Leo, as abbot-elect and administrator, 
found himself the head of this unknown, unpopular foundation in 
the South. With no administrative experience, no desire for the office 
he held, no missionary zeal or Southern sympathies to support him, 
Haid's confidence had been quickly shattered. He was suddenly 
independent of the man who had guided the course of his adult life, 
and he was committed for life to a monastery for which he had not 
even cared enough to volunteer. The one common theme of his early 
abbatial correspondence was the reiteration of the fact that 
Providence alone possessed the power to impose on him the Carolina 

Of course the new abbot had witnessed monastic pioneers at work 
before. He had lived close enough to observe those early, struggling 
days when Saint Vincent was still young. But there were differences, 
important differences, not the least of which was the presence of a 
local Catholic populace to help support the Pennsylvania 
Benedictines. No such comfort would be available in the Protestant 


Among the first congratulatory mesages Haid received was a letter 
from the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Joseph O'Connell. This sixty-three 
year old priest considered himself the founder of Maryhelp, and 
served as the self-appointed host to the monks, although the 
arrangement was actually the reverse. Nevertheless, Father 
O'Connell wrote Wimmer of the welcome advent of Haid. 

Yesterday we heard the glad news that Father Leo was elected Abbot of 
this monastery and accepted. All the community rejoices and what a 
marvelous event in the history of the Order and the Church in America.... 

I unite to offer you and our young abbot my congratulations, and beg 
you to present them to him and say, how glad we all are to see and receive 
him. 1 

The letter, though cordial and presumably genuine in its sentiment, 
was also presumptuous. O'Connell was not the person to offer 
Maryhelp's corporate felicitations: he did not head the community; 
indeed his ties rested only on an oblation, not on vows. The Irishman 
was not attached to the North Carolina Vicariate, either. He was 
simply not the man to tender the official welcome. The "old priest," 
as Wimmer called him, 2 was the donor of the property, and in making 
that gift— generous as it was — he had indentured the monks for his 
lodging, board, and transportation during life and Masses for his soul 
in perpetuity. 3 Having spent most of his priestly life without 
companions, O'Connell was ill suited for the community life he had 
invited upon his last years. And his gentle disposition, his generosity 
and good intentions did not prepare him for subordination to a 
prelate who was twenty-eight years his junior and inferiorly 
experienced in missionary life. Nevertheless, despite his rather 
forward and indelicate introduction to the abbot-elect, the "old 
priest" came with the property, and his various physical complaints 
not withstanding, he seemed destined for a long life. 4 

Jeremiah O'Connell was a priest of the Diocese of Charleston, 
whose bishop was also acting as Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina. 
Bom 21 November 1821, in County Cork, Ireland, O'Connell came 
to America at age nineteen. Officially, he was the chaperone and 
companion for his sister Julia, who was immigrating as a candidate 
for the Sisters of Mercy. But Jeremiah promptly entered the seminary 
himself, and was ordained a priest on 24 May 1844, the Solemnity of 
Pentecost that year, and coincidentally the feast of Maryhelp. 5 He 
then entered on the life of a missionary priest, often working in 
concert with his brother, Lawrence Patrick, also a Charleston priest. 

Believing that "as all light is gathered into the sun, so is all truth 
into the Church," 6 Jeremiah promoted the Catholic Church as a 
source of education. Catholic schools, he believed, would serve both 

the perseverance of Catholics and the conversion of Protestants. His 
dreams first bore fruit when, in 1857, he opened Saint Mary's 
College, a school for both boarding and day pupils, in Columbia, 
South Carolina. Jeremiah was president of the institution, and his 
brother was vice president. 7 

The school lasted barely more than a half dozen years. According 
to its reverend president, "South Carolina grew jealous of the 
Catholic College." Bigotry, sectarianism, rage, "threats of 
incendiarism, midnight assault, and violence" followed. 8 The college 
failed, he said, yet she was 

A faithful type of the Confederacy, her youth was fair and promising, her 
life short and bitter, and she perished in disaster and ruin, the same hand 
leveling both at one stroke. 9 

Lawrence had left the school before its demise. He entered the 
Confederate army, in which he eventually became a major, and 
served as a post chaplain. In 1865, as the more active hostilities 
subsided, he returned to Carolina, this time centering his missionary 
circuit around Mecklenburg and the other western counties of North 
Carolina. 10 Then in 1868, when the Vicariate Apostolic of North 
Carolina was erected, and the new bishop, James Gibbons, made his 
first tour of the state, Lawrence O'Connell was named Vicar General 
of the territory, 11 a rank second only to that of the Ordinary himself. 

The brothers were henceforth incardinated into different 
jurisdictions, Lawrence in North Carolina and Jeremiah in South 
Carolina, but they maintained regular contact. Three years later, in 
1871, when Jeremiah's health seemed to be failing, the fifty year old 
missionary attached himself to Lawrence's work at Saint Peter 
Church in Charlotte, and assisted as well as he could with the needs 
of North Carolina's few scattered Catholics. 12 

In his semi-retirement, his thoughts turned again toward providing 
the central South with a Catholic college. But this time the vision was 
different. Unable to administer such an effort himself, he planned to 
lure a religious order to the work. This would need to be an order of 
men, he concluded, since its priests could also help with the missions. 
Moreover, O'Connell was determined that his new Saint Mary's 
would have a rural location, away from the mobs and prejudices of 
the city. 

North Carolina's economy at this time had not recovered from the 
impact of the Civil War, and in places inconveniently distant from 
railroads, farm land could be purchased for as little as forty cents an 
acre. 13 Accordingly, O'Connell began looking for land sales in the 
area west of Charlotte— Gaston County (where the railroad had 

gone only as far as Stanley in the 1860's), 14 Lincoln County on 
Gaston's north border, and Cleveland County to its west. This area 
was convenient to Saint Peter in Charlotte, and with the railroad 
pushing slowly westward, land values would soon be rising. Quick 
action, O'Connell recognized, would insure a financial profit even if 
the college idea failed. 

His opportunity came almost immediately, when a notice was 
posted at the courthouse in Dallas, Gaston County, announcing that 
the estate of Samuel Caldwell would be sold at public auction. "Land 
poor" after the war, the Caldwells had even tried running a traveler's 
inn to raise money and save the family home. But the debts mounted, 
and when Caldwell died, the loss of the estate was inevitable. 

The Caldwells had acquired the farm almost a century before. The 
first Samuel Caldwell had, at age eighteen, 15 fought with distinction in 
the American Revolution before establishing and raising his family 
on this five hundred acre plot west of Charlotte. By the time of his 
death, Captain Caldwell was numbered among the local gentry; his 
progeny would carve distinguished careers in government and in later 
wars. In 1847, just after the creation of Gaston County, another 
Samuel Caldwell surfaced from that farm and was elected a solicitor. 16 
Samuel S. Caldwell, who had inherited the estate, achieved the rank 
of captain in the Confederate army, but unlike the previous Captain 
Caldwell, Samuel S. Caldwell did not retire to the family farm with 
his prestige or his finances intact. The debts were insurmountable. 
And when at his death he passed on the property to yet another 
Samuel Caldwell, the Superior Court of Gaston County was 
petitioned, and a decree issued mandating the sale. 17 

But by the time of Samuel P. Caldwell's public auction of the 
family lands, on 3 June 1871, O'Connell had not been able to raise 
sufficient funds. The bidding concluded with the Catholic priest 
defeated, and John F. Wooten was confirmed by the Court as the 
new owner of the Caldwell farm. Undaunted by this setback, 
however, O'Connell continued seeking money, intending to be ready 
the next time. The opportunity came a mere six months later, when 
word began circulating that Wooten did not have the money with 
which to meet his bid. By this time, however, O'Connell did have the 
necessary resources, and for ten dollars, paid in cash, he purchased 
Wooten's bid. On 1 8 December they signed the bid transfer for the 
five hundred six acres of the late Samuel S. Caldwell, Esquire. Samuel 
P. Caldwell witnessed the document. 18 O'Connell immediately paid 
his debt and became Garibaldi, North Carolina's newest citizen, and 
its first resident priest. 19 

Unsuited by either training or experience for agricultural work, 
O'Connell took tenant farmers, mostly blacks, onto the property. 
Getting the Caldwell Place in shape, he said, was an act of 
"restoration,...for it lay a long time in a ruinous and neglected 
condition." 20 This was necessary work, as O'Connell quickly realized, 
for even a gift of five hundred acres might not be enough to entice 
Catholic Religious into Gaston County. 

The closest town, Garibaldi, was an unincorporated village with a 
country store, run by Abram Stowe, who was also the postmaster and 
depot agent. The town was named for an earlier station master, John 
Garibaldi. Though small at the time, Garibaldi, North Carolina, 
showed promise, and soon there was a second store and even a 
tavern. 21 O'Connell found a county of Baptists, Methodists, 
Presbyterians, and Lutherans, but few Catholics. 22 There were almost 
thirteen thousand people in Gaston, one third of whom were black, 23 
only a handful of whom were Catholics. 

The topography was striking and beautiful, however, and the land 
rich in minerals. 24 The setting was ideal even if the residents were not 
warming to the priest's presence. The forestry was superb, with 
hardwoods particularly in evidence. Being in the foothills of the 
mountains, there were gentle, rolling land and picturesque vistas. 
Water was bountiful and pure. 25 

But the railroads were the big news in the early 1870's; that was 
apparently why the stationmaster's name had been accepted for the 
village, and abbreviated familarly and affectionately as "Baldi." 26 The 
proximity of ready, inexpensive transportation augured favorably for 
a promising future. O'Connell could also see the anticipation 
surrounding the first cotton being raised successfully in the county, 
though corn, wheat, and oats remained the largest crops. There was 
also the profitable post-war influx of sheep, 27 seen by some as a waste 
of good land in an area where the growing season lasted as long as 
two hundred twenty-eight days. 28 The priest's confidence would seem 
well justified. 

Unfortunately, in emphasizing the value of the land in Gaston 
County, O'Connell had looked only at the external elements, and had 
not checked history. Gaston County, despite its rural character, had 
never been prime farm land. 29 Yields were normally small. 30 The 
Catawba Indians, who had lived in the region long before their 
seventeenth century discovery by adventurous whites, 31 had not been 
attracted by the soil, but by the woods and waters. Even in the 
eighteenth century, when the first slaves were imported, their work 
was usually domestic in nature, and did not require cultivation of the 
land. 32 

The Caldwell estate itself should have warned O'Connell about the 
relative unimportance of agriculture in Gaston. Only about two 
hundred acres of the farm had been cleared, most of the rest being 
given to timber, primarily oak, pine, and hickory." Despite this, 
however, Jeremiah O'Connell had correctly identified a fine setting 
for a school. The air was clear and healthful at an altitude of about 
six hundred eighty-five feet; 34 good water was convenient. 35 
Transportation was good and inexpensive, and there were some 
buildings on the property with which to start. The only missing 
elements seemed to be Catholics, a religious Order, and students. For 
these Father O'Connell planned to supply with force of will and hard 
work. And not until the summer of 1875, was the "Caldwell 
Plantation," as the farm was now being called, ready for inspection 
by Catholic Religious. 

The first step in securing the Order was to impress the territory's 
bishop, in this case James Gibbons, the future Cardinal. North 
Carolina had no diocese at that time; its territory comprised a 
Vicariate Apostolic, a level of ecclesiastical jurisdiction ordinarily 
preparatory to diocesan status. Having too few Catholics to support 
its clergy and bishop, Gibbons, the first Vicar Apostolic of North 
Carolina, had been promoted in 1872 to an additional See, 
Richmond, which he then ruled in tandem with North Carolina. 
Gibbons had been named Vicar Apostolic in 1868 over two other 
nominees: Matthew O'Keefe, a priest in Virginia, and Jeremiah 
O'Connell himself. 36 No thought was given in 1872, however, to 
again nominating O'Connell, 37 and Gibbons reigned simultaneously 
over both territories. 

With crops planted, livestock on the premises, the house furnished, 
Gibbons was approached by O'Connell. The bishop was in the midst 
of his regular visitation of the Carolina missions, a trip that included 
Confirmations, Masses, inspections, and simple contact with priests, 
penitents, and the faithful. "Nowhere on the continent," O'Connell 
said, "could be found another place better suited for a religious and 
literary institution than this." 38 According to Gibbons' account, 
O'Connell offered "one of the best farms in one of the most fertile 
counties of the state." The offer included five hundred acres, stock, 
and a gold mine, all of which was valued by Father O'Connell at six 
thousand five hundred dollars. Gibbons was impressed with the offer, 
agreed to find an order of "Regular Priests who would cultivate the 
land and evangelize the missions," 39 and to enhance the offer, 
rounded off the value to ten thousand dollars. 40 

Hoping to find Religious who would accept the Garibaldi land, 
Gibbons claimed that, "As soon as the offer was made to me, my eyes 

turned to [Wimmer]." 4 ' That may be true. Wimmer's men were near 
Gibbons, working at Saint Mary parish in Richmond. But though his 
eyes turned first to Wimmer, his pen turned first to the 
Redemptorists. On 26 June 1875, the day he returned from his 
Carolina visitation, he recorded in his diary, "I have written to the 
V[ery] Rev[erend] Superior of the Redemptorists tendering him the 
farm which is in Gaston Co[unty]." 42 

Four of the Redemptorists had just given "a course of missions" 
through Gibbons' two territories, 43 and the bishop took the 
opportunity, while the obvious need of priests would be fresh in the 
Redemptorists' minds, to offer them a southern foundation. They 
rejected the offer without delay. 44 

As it happened, the Redemptorists were not the first Order to 
decline land in Gaston County. The Jesuits, who had inherited the 
estate of John O'Brien near the county seat of Dallas, had been so 
reluctant to claim that largesse that squatters had time to take 
possession of the whole property. 45 

On 1 August 1875, Gibbons turned to an Order noted for farms, 
education, and — at least since the appearance of Boniface 
Wimmer — a spirit of adventure: the Benedictines. His petition to the 
patriarch of Saint Vincent appealed to both the abbot's sensitivities 
and his appetites: 

I write to you on a subject of importance to religion and I hope you will 
give the matter your careful and favorable consideration. 

During my recent visit to the missions of North Carolina, I received from 
Rev[erend] Dr. J.J. O'Connell, the offer of his fine farm as a gift, on the sole 
condition that I would present it to a religious community who would 
cultivate it, and who with God's blessing would make it a religious center 
around which Catholicity would grow. 

The farm contains five hundred acres, two hundred of which are 
producing this year, wheat, corn, cotton, etc. The rest is composed of timber 
land. It is represented as one of the best farms in one of the healthy and 
fertile counties in North Carolina, and is valued at ten thousand dollars. 

Dr. O'Connell offers also the rolling stock, horses, cows, etc., valued at 
two thousand dollars and is prepared to deposit with the Fathers the sum of 
two thousand dollars, the interest of which he would draw, but I think, he 
would never demand the capital. 

The farm is only ten miles south from Charlotte, situated on the 
Richmond and Atlanta Air Line Railroad, the main line going south. The 
farm is a half mile from the depot. ...A letter will reach him addressed to 
Reverend Dr. J.J. O'Connell, Garibaldi Post Office, Gaston County, North 

As soon as the offer was made to me, my eyes turned toward your Right 
Reverence, whose brothers, I trust, are destined to cultivate souls and land 
in North Carolina as they have done in Europe. In view of the spoliations of 
your property in Europe, I consider this offer as coming from the hand of 

The only condition which Dr. O'Connell gives, is that he may be 

permitted to occupy a room on the premises during his life, which in the 
course of nature, is not destined to be too long, as he is old and feeble. 

There are scarcely any Catholics in the immediate vicinity, but there is a 
small church and congregation about four miles off. 

Hoping for a reply at your earliest convenience, I remain Right Reverend 
Father, your friend and servant in Christ, 

[signed] + James Gibbons 
Bishop of Richmond 

[Postscript:] This place would answer well for a college, as we have no 
college betweeen Washington and Mobile, except one in Georgia. There is a 
good farm house and another residence on the premises. 46 

The letter is a persuasive and deceptive document. The value of the 
land has been enlarged. The gold mine— inactive for a quarter 
century, 47 and never very productive— is valued as an asset. 48 Neither 
the Jesuits nor the Redemptorists are mentioned. There is the 
misleading segment that says O'Connell's residency is the only 
condition; whereas, Father O'Connell considered the stipulations 
regarding the use of the property to be conditions, as well, and he 
would add other clauses before the documents were signed. There is 
no proof that Gibbons was fully aware of the inaccuracy of his 
missive, but he may at least be recognized as granting a character to 
his presentation that was rather misleading. 

This offer, as phrased, did however meet many of Wimmer's 
criteria for new missionary monasteries. There were land, a rural 
setting, a farm, prospects for a school, genuine need. But this was not 
Wimmer's only offer in 1875, the best prospect, nor even his first 
invitation to the Carolinas. 49 It had, however, a special appeal for the 
abbot. As Gibbons remembered it, Boniface Wimmer liked the 
O'Connell offer for "the peculiar reason[s] that North Carolina had 
less Catholics than any state in the Union, at that time, and that it 
was the most poverty stricken of all the Dioceses in the United 
States." 50 

There was a General Chapter for the Benedictines in 1875, but 
Wimmer found there little interest in this latest scheme for expansion 
of the Order. Yet Abbot Boniface was not prepared to reject 
Gibbons' offer. He merely recognized that he could not accept it just 
then, and that it might be good to see the place first." Gibbons sensed 
Wimmer's interest, knew the abbot's reputation for venting his will, 
and decided to delay offering the farm to a third Order. 

Exactly what course Wimmer took to promote his Chapter's 
acceptance of the Garibaldi property went unrecorded. But after 
Christmas he thought there were enough votes, and a meeting and 
ballot by the capitulars at Saint Vincent were scheduled for 19 
January 1876. 

In the meantime, Gibbons had been calling "frequently" on 
Wimmer's two monks stationed in Richmond at Saint Mary Church. 
Father Benno Hegele, O.S.B., the pastor, and Father Herman Wolfe, 
O.S.B., the assistant, watched the bishop grow increasingly impatient, 
until he finally instructed Father Benno to request "a decisive answer 
immediately." Hegele did so — diplomatically timing his letter to 
arrive after the abbot had himself initiated action — and advised Saint 
Vincent that Gibbons had "the deed for the farm in hand and is 
willing to make it over at once to the Order." 52 

The capitulars in Pennsylvania voted their approval of Wimmer's 
Carolina adventure," accepting that farm over an opportunity in 
Nebraska that later evolved under Jesuit control into Creighton 
University. Father Benno was promptly informed of the Chapter's 
decision, and was delegated by the abbot to carry the news to James 
Gibbons. 54 Hegele did so on 26 January. 55 With characteristic post- 
factum humility, the abbot of Saint Vincent later wrote to Dr. Joseph 
Amberger explaining the motivation for entering Carolina: "I have 
taken the place for pity sake — in favor of Faith — in order to give the 
few — all dispersed — Catholics a harbor of some stability." 56 

The letter to Hegele also named the first superior for Carolina. It 
was to be the Richmond assistant, Father Herman. Wolfe was a 
convert from Lutheranism. A coarse, unmannered man, he was 
remembered, nevertheless, as cheerful, tall, grey, angular, and a good 
pianist. A German native, he was born in Krummendiek, Holstein, 
where he became a physician. At age thirty -two, Wolfe journeyed to 
America, eventually settling in Saint Louis. In 1861, he enlisted as a 
medical officer in the Confederate army, remaining until 1865. Two 
years later he was ordained a priest by Bishop Domenec of 
Pittsburgh. The next day he entered the novitiate at Saint Vincent, 
where he remained until his solemn vows in 1872. Since then he had 
been stationed in Richmond. 57 

The abbot's logic in sending the Confederate veteran to run the 
North Carolina mission was transparent to everyone except Father 
Herman. "Had I been at Saint Vincent," he wrote, "I would have 
voted in favor of accepting the place but certainly would not have 
chosen the man who is to go there to start it." Wolfe hoped, to no 
avail, that Gibbons would object to the choice of superior. The prior- 
elect then begged exemption because of age, before finally 
submitting. Reluctantly he accepted his appointment and begged the 
Saint Vincent community to "assist me with its prayers." 58 

In this same letter, Wolfe advised his abbot of the first of the 
conditions that were to be added to the deed. Gibbons, it seemed, had 
decided to reserve "the right to reclaim the farm, in case the 

Benedictines withdraw from the place." 59 The bishop later decided to 
omit this clause from the document, calling this aspect a "private 
contract;" nevertheless, he carefully recorded its terms for posterity: 
Wimmer agreed, according to Gibbons, "to surrender the property to 
the Bishop of North Carolina should it be ever diverted from its 
legitimate purposes, viz. the establishment of an agricultural farm and 
a Catholic college." 60 For his part Wimmer admitted the bishop had 
made the demand, but never mentioned such terms having been 

Since no Benedictine had yet seen the Caldwell farm, Father 
Herman decided to travel there as soon as possible. He planned to go 
on Tuesday, 1 February, for a visit of one week. 61 O'Connell's 
recollection says the first visit was not until spring. But regardless of 
the date, Wolfe "made a thorough examination" of the donation, 
"accepted the gift and acquiesced to the conditions.'* 62 He then 
returned to Richmond, leaving the farm in O'Connell's hands, and 
began arranging for the legal transfer of title. Wolfe also began his 
long wait for enough brothers to operate the priory's farm. 63 

The troubled history of Carolina monasticism had barely begun. 
Wolfe learned, for example, that since the Benedictines had no 
charter in the state of North Carolina, the monks could not own 
property there. 64 This problem was solved by deciding to make the 
deed over to Father Herman personally, 65 who then wrote a will in 
which he left the farm to the Benedictine Society in Pennsylvania. 66 

But the affairs of the Garibaldi Benedictines were seldom simple. 
And the transfer of the land was a classic foretaste of what the future 
held. 67 This is the sequence: 

1. On 11 October 1875, O'Connell deeded the farm to Gibbons 
with a stated price of ten thousand dollars. They did not, however, 
register the deed. 68 

2. That same day, a contract was drawn up by O'Connell that 
apparently later was specified as engaging Wolfe on behalf of the 
Benedictine Society in Pennsylvania, "to support [O'Connell] in a 
comfortable and genteel manner for and during [his] natural life." 
Gibbons signed this, but not until nine months later. 69 

3. On 13 March 1876, after Wolfe had seen the farm and realized 
the difficulties of corporate ownership under North Carolina law, 
Gibbons deeded the land to Father Herman for one dollar, and in 
consideration "of the conditions and trust hereafter set forth." These 
included "conduct and maintenance of a boys' school and farm under 
the control, direction, care and management of the said Herman 
Wolfe and...[the] Benedictine Society." 70 

4. On 29 March 1876, Wolfe executed a will that specified, "It is 
my especial desire in this device to provide for the continuance of 
management of a certain real estate in Gaston County, North 
Carolina, which was bargained, sold, and conveyed to me by Right 
Reverend James Gibbons, Bishop of the intent that 
the purposes set forth in said deed be faithfully carried out." 71 

5. On 2 April 1876, the deed of 11 October 1875 was finally 
registered, but in the adjoining county of Mecklenburg instead of 
Gaston County. 72 [cf., no. 1, supra] 

6. On 5 July 1876, Gibbons finally signed the contract of the 
previous October. 73 [cf., no. 2, supra] 

7. On 17 July 1876, it all started again. This time a deed was 
executed from O'Connell to Wolfe "in behalf of the Benedictine 
Society of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania." This document 
was specified as superseding the deed of 11 October 1875 [no. 1, 
supra], and that of 13 March 1876 [no. 3, supra]. In this deed, for one 
dollar (and, of course, the "considerations") the property was 

together with all the improvements thereon, and with the stock consisting 
in mules, cattle, hogs and sheep, with all provisions and provender on hand, 
with all farming... tools and household furniture, and the crop now growing, 
valued at twelve thousand dollars, it being expressly understood, that all 
mines of gold, or any other mineral on said premises heretofore opened and 
worked, or not opened and worked yet, being not included in the above 
valuation, but valued by themselves at fifty thousand dollars are included in 
ihis grant and conveyance — to have and to hold under these conditions: 
The said Jeremiah Joseph O'Connell... shall have 

1 . his support, including clothing, during the term of his natural life, and 
in case either party should wish and prefer, a separate dwelling in a 
convenient location on the premises. 

2. the use of a horse (or mule) and buggy, whenever he requires the 

3. the exclusive use of his vasa sacrainitis [sic] and paramenta sacerdotalia 

[chalice and other priestly paraphernalia]. 

4. a weekly Mass ab initio and in perpetuum according to his intention and 
the said [Herman Wolfe] shall establish or cause to be established on the 
premises aforesaid within a reasonable time a religious community and 
literary institution. 74 

8. On 26 August 1 876, Father Herman made yet another will. The 
purpose was the same as the one of March, but this time the deed of 
reference was the 17 July document. Wimmer was named executor. 75 

9. On 15 November 1877, another new deed was signed. This one 
was the same as the previous year's edition, except that it corrected 
the error in the legal name of the Benedictine Society. 76 

10. On 3 December 1877, however, Wimmer — still not satisfied, 

and other legal impediments finally behind him — had O'Connell and 
Wolfe together execute another new deed to supersede its 
predecessors, this time expressly giving the property to Wimmer. If 
nothing else, this deed did save Father Herman from designing a third 
will. 77 

In a fitting postscript to these machinations, Leo Haid, almost nine 
years later, received a letter from Wimmer expressing the archabbot's 
dislike for and dissatisfaction with even that last contract. 78 

the haRBOR of Some StaBility 

In April of 1 876, Father Herman finally left Richmond to start his 
new monastery. He was accompanied by two Richmond boys, Henry 
Plageman and Anthony Lauman, who were to be the new school's 
first pupils and the farm's first laborers. Garibaldi was reached on the 
twenty-first, and since Father Herman immediately established 
residency, the "priory" came into existence on that day. There were 
just two priests and two boys; only one of the four was a monk, but 
such are the beginnings of missionary monasteries. 

Father Herman decided to name his new priory "Mariastein," in 
honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a large granite boulder that 
dominated the property. This stone was supposed to have been a 
Catawba altar. Subsequently, the Caldwells had used it as the slave 
block. Wolfe planned no use for the rock, but the name at least 
acknowledged its rather conspicuous presence. 79 

Wimmer, with uncharacteristic generosity, sent three brothers 
before the end of the month. Michael Irwin, an early student 
remembered them as "gnarled, knotty, and brown." 80 The description 
is indicative of the effects of the brothers' strenuous life of labor and 
monastic austerity. Brother Bartholomew Freundl was a farm 
laborer, a silver jubilarian of monastic profession, and a Bavarian. He 
was the senior brother. Brother Ulric Barth, a native of Belgium, had 
been drafted into the Federal army during the Civil War, but he 
returned to the monastery at Saint Vincent afterwards. He was 
skilled as a mechanic. The junior of the original brothers was a 
Prussian, Placidus Draude, a gardener. He later left the monastery 
and married. 85 They supervised the failure of the supposedly valuable 
crops that first year, until by August even Wimmer admitted that 
Mariastein would not be noted for its farm. 82 

As the primary step in establishing a monastery at the Caldwell 
Place, Father Herman designated a corner room in the small, frame 
house, as a chapel. He blessed it, "and from the first morning Holy 

Mass was offered every day. May God assist us," he prayed, "that 
this Sacrifice will never be interrupted here." 83 

There were other buildings to be prepared, too. Brother Ulric 
began a two storey, frame, college building, 84 about twenty-two feet 
by thirty-nine. This structure would be moved several times in the 
next two decades until the more permanent, brick buildings were 
available. Perhaps the construction work those first few months was 
providential, since school enrollment doubled in the fall of 1876: 
there were four students, two Charlotte boys, Frederick and Samuel 
Gross, having been added. 

To cover the teaching load — school work seemed to show more 
promise than agriculture — Wimmer took the unusual step of sending 
a teaching brother. Philip George Cassidy, who like O'Connell was a 
native of Ireland, had recently professed his final vows as a 
Benedictine. Prior to entering Saint Vincent, he had been a Christian 
Brother at Saint Francis in Loretto. He was dispensed on 28 
September 1871, at age fifty-one, then entered the Order of Saint 
Benedict. Garibaldi was his first mission as a monk. 85 He was a 
"grave, middle-aged man" 86 by this time, but his service was 
undeniable. Not only did he help with the teaching, this Irish brother 
was also available as a buffer between the German superior, Wolfe, 
and the Irish donor, O'Connell, each of whom was set in his ordinary 
and not necessarily compatible patterns. 87 

Wolfe greeted Cassidy at the station. Brother Philip was surprised 
to find his new prior accompanied on that occasion by "a boy, a 
nigger, four mules and a wagon," 88 but he quickly accomodated 
himself to the primitive and informal conditions of Mariastein. 
Cassidy was to teach English, arithmetic, penmanship, and 
geography — half the school's courses — while also serving as the 
students' prefect. Father Herman taught catechism, classical 
languages, German, geometry, and algebra. 89 He then doubled as a 
missionary, sometimes leaving Father O'Connell to say the 
conventual Mass for the non-ordained monks. 90 

Missionary responsibilities distracted the prior from the monastery, 
school, and farm, from the beginning. In the first year, Cabarrus 
County, twenty miles away, became the monks' responsibility. 91 He 
also went to Dallas and elsewhere so that on Sundays, when he 
travelled by rail, he had to leave at half past four in the morning, and 
could not be back before half past ten o'clock at night. 92 

To help ease the prior's burden, Father Joseph Keller, O.S.B., was 
sent to Mariastein as a missionary. Keller had been Wolfe's 
replacement in Richmond, but the needs in Carolina were greater. 
Father Joseph was Bavarian born, but able to preach well in 

English, 93 so his services were in great demand. At the monastery it 
was he who started the first chapel building. This was a frame 
structure, whitewashed, about eighteen feet by thirty, with a 
maximum capacity of one hundred worshipers. On 8 September 
1877, Keller offered the first Mass in the chapel. 

But it was for another and more significant effort that Father 
Joseph would be remembered in the monastery's history. Keller was 
the first of the many Garibaldi missionaries to beg release from the 
Carolina wilderness. Claiming there was no real need for his presence, 
he unsuccessfully petitioned for transfer in March of 1877. 94 One 
month later, the brothers appealed en masse to Wimmer, imploring 
reassignment away from Mariastein. 95 They too were unsuccessful, 
but the obvious trouble brewing in Gaston County finally brought 
Wimmer to Mariastein. 96 

The sight that greeted the founder of American Benedictine 
monasticism in June of 1877 was pitiful. There was a rough board 
house, a delicate frame structure for the school, and the waste of the 
badly managed farm. The personnel too, decidedly unenthusiastic 
about the prospects for success, were less than edifying. Only 
O'Connell seemed to be pleased; he thought the first year such a 
success, that he announced his intention to become a Benedictine 
Oblate. 97 The monks, however, projected a more subdued character 
than the donor. There were two German-born priests, and now five 
brothers— an Irishman, one from Belgium, a Prussian, and two 
Bavarians— all stranded outside a three house hamlet in a Protestant 
state. This was not the substance from which permanent American 
monastieries were formed. Wimmer commenced his efforts by 
renaming the monastery, providing what seemed a more reasonable 
label. "Mariastein" would be used no more; the school would be 
called, as O'Connell had requested, "Saint Mary's College;" and the 
whole complex was placed under the patronage of Blessed Mary, 
according to her title "help of Christians." The monks were 
henceforth part of the "Benedictine Priory of Maryhelp," and they 
trusted the help would come posthaste. 

Wimmer's visit was intended to engender spirit. He told Keller to 
build the chapel of Maryhelp, and promised to send an organ. To ease 
tensions, O'Connell was given a small and separate cottage on the 
grounds. The monks were told to cease murmuring and start 
working. And with typical optimism, he noted that conditions were 
not really as dismal as they seemed. With three priests, five brothers, 
and four students, Maryhelp was "already the principal Catholic 
center in the State." 98 

This was the first of several such visits from Wimmer. 


The priory developed so slowly that the abbot did not institute a 
regular monastic horarium until his visitation in the spring of 1882. 
The painfully slow progress of the Carolina monks stemmed in part 
from a pervading bitterness of spirit. The move by Keller and the 
brothers to abandon the project in 1877, was merely the beginning of 
the disquiet that continually attacked and undercut the monastic 
values and standards that needed to be established if the foundation 
were to succeed. In 1878, Wimmer had to write a letter complaining 
that no one at Maryhelp would tell him how few students there 
were." In 1879, there was widespread discontent regarding the poor 
monastic observance. 100 That same year Wimmer wrote reprovingly 
that the farm had to be improved lest the whole operation suffer. 101 
Yet the school was equally bad, and they could not even afford paint 
for the buildings. 102 

But it was in 1883 that problems in Carolina reached their worst 
level. Wimmer sent Fathers Pauline and Benno to Garibaldi merely 
to visit, in the hope that they might be impressed and argue against 
the "bad will, indiscretion or misunderstanding that have so decried 
[Maryhelp] that no one wants to go there." 103 That summer, the 
monks decided to try cutting tuition in order to win more students. 104 
They advertised, too, in Chattanooga, Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, 
Columbia, Charleston, Wilmington, Raleigh, Norfolk, Portsmouth, 
Lynchburg, and Richmond. One monk stayed a month in the 
Virginia capital for recruiting new boys; another spent five weeks 
touring southern cities in search of students. The result was ten 
students at the start of the year — this jumped finally to twenty- 
one — no one from Richmond or Charleston even applied; there was 
only one from Columbia, and the whole state of North Carolina 
yielded one application, a boy who subsequently decided not to 
attend. 105 The farm too was at its worst that year, with oats yielding 
only nine bushels per acre, and corn only ten; there were no peaches; 
potatoes were poor. There might not be enough provender to feed the 
stock, Father Edwin lamented. "About our farm," he wrote, "there is 
not much to be said." 106 

Oswald Moosmueller, on the pretense of escorting Brother Altman 
Alt to his new assignment in Carolina, had inspected Maryhelp for 
Wimmer in 1877. He found the place overly crowded and dingy. The 
brightest light, he said, was Father O'Connell, who wisely recognized 
what poor farmers the monks were and gathered around him families 
of black sharecroppers and tenant farmers. 107 

Finally in 1878, the abbot tried a new approach. He sent an 
emissary to assume residency at Maryhelp and report regularly 
regarding the tenor and state of the monastery and its works. For this 
unusual assignment Abbot Boniface appointed Julius Pohl, a talpid- 
faced cleric at Saint Vincent, and a personal favorite of Wimmer's. 
Frater Julius had recently had some minor health problems and was 
in need of a more healthful climate than Pennsylvania winters 
provided. So he volunteered for Garibaldi — that alone was enough to 
distinguish him— where he would continue his studies for priesthood 
under Father O'Connell. Pohl was the priory's first American-born 
monk, an Ohio native, and the perfect man for this delicate mission. 
There was no way for Pohl's assignment to be held sub secreto, since 
the abbot insisted on communicating through him, even in giving 
instructions to the prior. But Frater Julius was capable of inspiring a 
true and generous affection in the people who knew him, and there 
is — surprisingly— no extant evidence of his being resented in his 
unusual position at Maryhelp. From the beginning, young Pohl 
sought to engender a wholesome new spirit in Carolina. He was 
scholarly, good humored, a skilled violinist. Frater Julius was also 
willing to give himself as generously to the school as to the missions, 
immediately separating himself from the factions in the priory. 
Totally dedicated to the upbuilding of Maryhelp, even taking the care 
to record early events of historical interest for later generations, 
Julius Pohl came to represent the promise than even Maryhelp Priory 
might prove to have. Even in the boys of the college, Pohl could elicit 
an amazing affection, respect, and loyalty. 108 But at no time did his 
personal interests keep Frater Julius from his primary task, and the 
reports to Wimmer were frequent and detailed. 

A second, exceptionally gifted, American-born, Benedictine was 
sent to Maryhelp in these early years, too. But he was sent for a 
different reason. Stephen Lyons was a charismatic figure to 
parishoners and students; he was a gifted teacher and a tremendous 
asset to the pastoral work of the house. Unfortunately, the monks 
found Lyons to be a chronic malcontent. 109 His attitude in the 
monastery was unpleasant, but since he had been sent to Carolina 
primarily to establish the reputation of the missions, and to a lesser 
extent the school, he was tolerated. And like Pohl, he executed his 
special assignment well. 

Despite his gentleness and good intentions, however, Herman 
Wolfe was quickly spotted by both Pohl and Lyons as a negative 
force in the development of Maryhelp. Lyons, both because of the 
more personal nature of his complaints and the fact that he was 
making a rather blatant effort toward taking over Wolfe's missionary 

circuit, never succeeded in winning Abbot Boniface's confidence, 

Pohl did enjoy the abbatial favor. His letters from Wimmer are 
peppered with terms of endearment. But the story that Pohl had to 
expose was far from pleasant; so he wrote it first to the prior of Saint 
Vincent, James Zilliox, and from there changes started happening. 

The charges suggested an overall failure of the Wolfe 
administration. Father Herman seemed to "take to drink;" the food 
he served was bad ["meat we get — none — and if we do — rotten meat'*] 
his "inventiveness" involved serving the potato greens rather than the 
vegetable's meat; the boys were not returning to school because of 
Father Herman's practices; parishoners in Concord stopped attending 
church rather than face another Sunday morning with Wolfe. 110 

Wimmer's response to the charges had elements of politics, 
diplomacy, and prudent administration. Pohl — "in whose mouth 
such a petition sounded particularly wrong" — was scolded. Father 
Stephen was warned. 111 And the next year, much to Father Herman's 
relief, 112 the aging prior was transferred to a parish in Alabama. 
Father Julius was saved from the taint of villainy; Father Stephen 
was finally given his overdue correction; and Father Herman was 
spared the embarrassment that might have accompanied his failure. 
The departing prior left behind eight hundred ninety-two dollars and 
twenty -one cents in debts, and a poor excuse for a monastery. 113 
Pastoral work occupied his energies until his death in 1884. 

Father Prior Herman was succeeded at Garibaldi by Placidus Pilz, 
a Bavarian-born Benedictine whose special talent for erecting 
buildings made him an obvious candidate for fledgling monasteries. 
Before the advent of Father Placidus, construction projects at 
Mary help had been small, inexpensive, and often temporary in 
intention. The chapel had cost a mere four hundred fifty -two 
dollars. 114 The two-storey, frame college building had cost one 
thousand one hundred fourteen dollars and fifty cents. 115 But Pilz had 
been told to construct a three storey brick structure, the core of the 
permanent buildings for Mary help. The cost was estimated at two 
thousand five hundred dollars, with a seventy-five by thirty-five foot 
floorplan. 116 

Brickmaking had already started on 1 April, 117 with blacks being 
hired to assist Brother Ulric and the other brothers. 118 So Father 
Placidus had only to stake out the rectangular frame, assign jobs, 
sketch a rough design, and anticipate and provide for needs. At the 
last minute, Wimmer decided to splurge, telling Pilz — through 
Pohl — to include a full basement in his plans. 119 On 10 November, the 
cornerstone was blessed, ground broken, and work begun. 120 

Construction stretched over nine months, and finished fifty-five 
dollars and seventy-eight cents under budget. 121 

Though this narrow building, fashioned of irregular bricks, was a 
solitary standard of ambition, it was at least visible evidence that the 
Benedictines had given some thought to permanent residency on the 
Caldwell farm. All college functions were to be held in this new 
building— except that, it was thought, the anticipated quantity of 
students might require the placement of some boys in the old 
dormitories as well. It was a problem that did not materialize, 
however. The Catholic school, in the Protestant South, run by 
German-born Yankees, was slow in achieving local popularity. 

Personnel changed regularly in the early years of the College, 
according to variations in both monastic temperaments and school 
enrollment. 122 In moving from four students in 1876, to six in 1877, 
there seemed little progress. But 1878 had twelve boys, and the next 
year there was a respectable enrollment of thirty -eight. The release of 
Father Herman saved the next year's total, and as the College 
Building was started there were forty-three scholars, living in "a plain 
wooden shed. ..unsealed within — rather frigid as to the 
temperature." 123 But that was the peak: 1881 had twenty-five boys; 
there were two fewer the next year; another two fewer in the 1883 
term. In 1884, when the monastery became an abbey, the school had 
improved, but only to twenty-seven pupils. This low enrollment 
continued despite considerable interest and promotion of the school. 
Bishop Northrop, who headed the Vicariate at this time, showed 
great support for Saint Mary's College, 124 even sponsoring some 
students, 125 and sending his own nephew to Garibaldi. 126 Father 
Stephen in particular was admired by the laity, and Father Lawrence 
O'Connell encouraged the bishop and priests to assist the struggling 
institution. 127 A brochure was printed in 1877 to promote the 
College. 128 But it was all to no avail. 

Exasperated, Wimmer finally wrote Pohl, "You have every year 
good prospects for a crowded school, but it seems you are a little 
visionary, for after all, the boys seen do not come." 129 It was Pohl, 
then, who took matters in hand and set about improving the school 
and its image. At times, however, he stretched reality to suit his 
purposes. For example, in the school catalogue published just before 
the brick College Building opened — while students were still lodging 
in the board shack described as "frigid" 130 — he wrote this 
interpretation of the effects of Maryhelp's primitive conditions: "The 
improved physique of the students on their return home is a subject 
pleasing to parents; and boys of delicate constitution are sent here in 
recognition of this fact." 131 

Despite his rather creative promotional literature, however, Pohl 
was able to communicate to the college the same sense of purpose, 
the same tenor and enthusiasm that he had tried to impart in the 
cloister. Through this effort, Father Julius became the primary force 
in upbuilding the school, and when he became rector in 1884, Saint 
Mary's College actually seemed to have promise. By this time Pohl 
was also, though young in years, the institution's only voice of 
continuity. In the school's brief history, there had been five rectors: 
Herman Wolfe (appointed in 1876 ), Stephen Lyons (1878 ), Father 
Alban Rudroff ( 1881 ) from Kansas, Father Edwin Pierron ( 1882 ), 
whom Wimmer thought might help the farm as well as the school, 
and finally Pohl (1884). These personnel problems gave Maryhelp 
an image of instability from the beginning. Lyons petitioned regularly 
for reassignment, finally lamenting in July of 1881, that he was 
"dishearten [ed]... to think that my prospects of being released this 
summer, look so poor." 132 And Cyprian Creagh, who had tried his 
vocation in Ireland first as a Redemptorist, 133 but at age forty-three 
applied to the Benedictines as the first priesthood candidate 
specifically intended for North Carolina, 134 was begging for a transfer 
to Savannah a mere two years after ordination. 135 When the move 
was denied, he asked simply to go anywhere else. 136 Only Pohl liked 
North Carolina and never requested or expressed a desire for 

In the context of these conditions — unwilling personnel, poor 
farm, low enrollment in the school, little income, and even that 
useless gold mine— it was little wonder that Wimmer fought so 
anxiously in 1884 to divest himself of responsibility for Maryhelp 
Priory. Through its two dependencies there was at least some promise 
of solvency, but Garibaldi itself was a dream of slight promise. 

Advent of haid 

Nevertheless, in July of 1885, Leo Haid, as administrator and 
abbot-elect, was lord of this minor disaster near the southern border 
of North Carolina. And he decided to go south for his first view of his 
domain as soon as possible. 

Before leaving Saint Vincent, Father Leo's popularity in the 
schools earned Maryhelp some unexpected additions. Two of the 
motherhouse's clerics, both students of Haid's, announced for 
Carolina. They were Roman Kirchner, a twenty -five year old 
Pennsylvania native, and Charles Mohr, age twenty-two, from Ohio. 
They joined Haid on 15 July. 137 

That same day, Father Leo sent Father Willibald back to his 
assignment in Richmond at Saint Mary Church, and Pohl to his 
rectorship of the college in Carolina. 138 Three more of Haid's students, 
all members of that year's graduating class, announced their intention 
to enter the novitiate for Maryhelp. They — Bernard Haas, Benedict 
Roth, and Francis Meyer — remained at Saint Vincent's novitiate, 
then made their professions for Maryhelp the following summer. 

On 20 July, the abbot-elect in the company of the archabbot left 
Saint Vincent for New Jersey, where they were to attend the solemn 
abbatial blessing of James Zilliox on the twenty-second. Four 
fraters — George, Patrick, Walter, and Charles — took the train to 
Richmond where they would await the abbot-elect. 139 Hintemeyer, as 
the premier intellect of the group, stayed at the motherhouse for 
further studies. 140 

After the festivities in honor of Zilliox, Haid proceeded to 
Richmond where he investigated his dependency, preached at Saint 
Mary's on the twenty-sixth, and "was introduced to the leading 
members" of the parish. 141 

Then on 27 July, the five monks 142 boarded the southbound train 
for Garibaldi station, North Carolina. Of the group only Leahy and 
Donlon had ever seen their new home. 143 Yet the whole group must 
have been encouraged by the vision of the future. This one month 
had seen a promising abbot elected; thus eight monks had become 
nine. Two additional volunteers followed Haid; then three novices 
enlisted, so that in two weeks, Maryhelp had gone from eight to 
fourteen monks, not counting the brothers. 

Arriving on 28 July 1885, 144 the monks of Maryhelp were met at 
the depot on this hot summer day by Father O'Connell. The donor of 
Maryhelp had brought with him a farm wagon, administered by the 
college's factotum, Alexander Nevins, and powered by an aging 
mule. Haid surveyed the "abbatial carriage" and concluded that 
prudence demanded that they walk to the abbey. Accordingly, 
O'Connell and Nevins rode, and the monks followed on foot. 145 

Twenty-five years later, the abbot recalled his first sight of 
Maryhelp. "A straggling, rut-ribbed road led.. .through the 
undergrowth to the spot" where they were to make their home. It 
was a plot of land as primitive as the road and as rickety as the wagon 
had been. The abbot-elect's heart sank at the miserable sight. Even 
with his greatest charity, Leo Haid could describe Maryhelp with no 
more generosity than to say that, "In spite of its forlorn appearances, 
nature had favored that spot." As he surveyed his domain Haid 
concluded that "the sturdy old Benedictine spirit of labor, sacrifice 
and prayer would [have to] do the rest." 146 By Pohl's recollection, the 

new monks of Maryhelp were "agreeably surprised" by their first 
sight of the Abbey. 147 But Haid's version is more readily 
substantiated. These monks, who were accustomed to the imposing 
grandeur of the Pennsylvania archabbey, suddenly found themselves 
in Carolina where there was a single brick building, strangely 
proportioned and singularly unimpressive. Mary help's church was 
smaller than the refectory at Saint Vincent. There was the rough, 
two-storey, frame "monastery" beside the "College Building," and at 
least two smaller temporary frame buildings, randomly scattered 
before the brick structure. There was an unproductive farm, 
improved but still poor — and of course there was the deserted gold 
mine. Finally there was the cottage of their boarder, Father 
O'Connell. Haid's first vision of his domain was of an 
underdeveloped farm, well placed, brimming with potential, but 
woefully untapped, thoroughly disorganized, and in a state of critical 

The moment was too important to pass in silence or murmuring, 
and without delay the abbot-elect took control. For Haid, as for 
Wolfe nine years earlier, there was one sign of permanence and 
stability that met the eye. And upon arriving at the farm, Father Leo 
headed first for the large granite block — situated now in the shadow 
of the new, brick College Building. The abbot-elect mounted 
"Mariastein," where the Catawbas had worshiped, and slaves had 
been sold, and he addressed the small band of pioneer monks and 
their host, announcing "the glad tidings of the new monastic 
foundation." 148 

With this act, Leo Haid embraced the future of Maryhelp Abbey. 

ChapteR III: 

A TThtRefc &BBOt 

Inhabited for nine years by disgruntled monks, Maryhelp's 
buildings — pitiful in their own right — had been allowed to 
deteriorate. Even Haid, who was determined to promote a spirit of 
adventure and enthusiasm, admitted the atmosphere of his new home 
was depressing. Wimmer openly described the abbey as "just a farm- 
house." 1 Father Placidus, who continued as prior until the 
administrator reached Maryhelp, was so elated to be relieved of 
residency in Carolina, that he allowed himself only one full day for 
introducing the new superior to his charge. On the morning of 30 
July, Pilz flagged down the first train, boarded it, and happily and 
finally departed Garibaldi. Father Leo soon came to the realization 
that prompt action was necessary in order to fight such attitudes and 
to involve the monks in the needs of Maryhelp Abbey. 

Haid's methodology was taken directly from Benedict's Regula: he 
decided to keep the monks busy. The monastery was a "school of the 
Lord's service," 2 according to Benedict, a training ground for a life 
focused on God. And nothing, he believed, was more likely to distract 
from God and promote a poor spirit than idleness. In the Regula, 
indeed, it was provided that labor might be assigned even on Sunday, 
if that were necessary for fighting a monk's lack of industry. 3 Haid 
subscribed to this theory wholeheartedly, and set the monks to work 
without delay. 


The college not being in session, all the monks — priests and 
brothers — did manual labor. Their first project involved the library. 
The capitulars of Maryhelp had prudently brought from Saint 
Vincent various items necessary for the work of the new abbey, and 
books were a prominent part of their imports. These were unpacked 
while Father Leo walked through the buildings and instituted 
appropriate rearrangements for the good of the school and 
monastery. Finally the administrator decided that the library should 
be moved from the second to the first floor. On 3 1 July the entire 
book collection and its shelving were dismantled and reconstructed 
according to Haid's design. 4 Then the abbot-elect ordered that the 
volumes be recatalogued to more properly incorporate the new and 
greater quantity of books. 

On the morning of 6 August, Father Anastasius, who decided to 
enter the new life of a new abbey with a new name, and thus became 
'Tather William," reached Garibaldi. With him was F rater Roman. 
What they discovered was a flurry of activity with monks and abbot 
alike cleaning, painting, and ornamenting the ramshackle structures, 
hoping to lend "a more cheerful look." 5 Mr. Nevins was painting in 
the College; the brothers were working on the farm. The abbot-elect, 
his priests and clerics were being true to Benedict with no idleness in 
evidence. 6 Haid himself had already scrubbed the church. The 
monastery was painted on the outside and cleaned within. 
Whitewash was applied to the exterior of the chapel, and interior of 
the college. And Haid cheerfully reported, "We are not idle... .The 
work keeps us in good humor!" 7 

Father Leo was determined that those first days would be busy and 
create immediate and obvious results. From the list of 
improvements, 8 it would seem he achieved his end. In addition to the 
monks and Alexander Nevins, William Steward, a student, also came 
to help. Finally Pohl reported that "everything seemed to have 
donned a holiday dress." 9 

The work and its results generated a good atmosphere and a 
pervading aura of achievement at Maryhelp. But at least one person's 
spirits did not improve: the administrator and abbot-elect, Haid, did 
not profit from his new regimen and responsibility. The new superior 
was keenly aware, it seems, of how ill-prepared he was for the abbacy. 
He was young, inexperienced; his background was provincial and 
undistinguished. In monasteries, ambition for personal advancement 
is not a virtue, and Haid, who had been so happy with his balanced 
life of monastic routine and school duties, had not anticipated his 
acquisition of the mitre. He found nothing in his background or 
experience to explain or justify his promotion. And he, like every 

other monk both at Mary help and Saint Vincent, was fully conscious 
that he was no one's first choice for the office. His name had only 
been advanced as a replacement and a compromise candidate who 
was in offensive and perhaps undistinguished enough to draw little 
dissent, and thus to expedite the election. 

This was not the best foundation for confident leadership. For 
example, Haid immediately began writing sad letters to Wimmer, 
begging help and imploring extra men and supplies. Nevertheless, 
despite his depression and this consciousness of his inadequacies, 
Father Leo was determined to impart to his new charge some stamp 
of his own — or at least of his ambitions. Even in this disconsolation 
there surfaced the first gestures of independence, the first signs of a 
tentative departure from Wimmer's shadow. But it was a movement 
which Haid was reluctant to admit, and which he refused to flaunt. 
He secured his role and his abbatial identity in the only manner he 
knew: he tried to involve himself in every job, every duty the monks 
would have to fill. There was farm work, and painting and cleaning. 
On the first Sunday, 2 August, he took the public Mass himself, and 
preached. 10 The next day, rather than have his monks leave the 
monastery grounds, he personally undertook the buying trip, 
traveling all the way to Charlotte, and returning "abundantly 
supplied with everything in the line of culinary usefulness. It was, for 
the good brother cook, a gala day." 11 

In establishing new monasteries, Wimmer's ordinary practice had 
been to delay instituting the full monastic horarium until the 
foundation was well established. He maintained that in missionary 
monasteries the observance of the monks had to be adapted on 
occasion or in general according to circumstances. On Sundays in 
particular, when priestly obligations could be extensive, the daily 
schedule would be adjusted. But Leo Haid, in his first significant 
departure from the example of the archabbot of Saint Vincent, 
instituted the full monastic horarium on 8 August, less than two 
weeks after his arrival in North Carolina. And the decision was more 
than merely the first zeal of his new office. From being the staunch 
defender of Boniface Wimmer, with all the activity that implied, all 
the distraction that required, Leo Haid emerged with his new abbatial 
dignity as a determined champion of more traditional monastic 
values. There was nothing particularly extraordinary about the 
regimen Father Leo instituted except that it had come from him, and 
had come so early. He was determined to fight his inadequacies with 
serious effort, and so relied more heavily on the monastic theory he 
had learned in the Regula and during the novitiate, than on the very 
practical example of observance Wimmer had required in the earliest 

days of the various daughterhouses. 

The horarium of 8 August 12 mandated above all else the choral 
recitation of the Opus Dei. For these common hours of prayer, the 
monks assembled in the house chapel or church and recited the 
psalmody antiphonally; the superior presided, and one of the monks, 
the hebdomadary, officiated. Meals were taken in silence or with 
reading; from Compline until after breakfast no talking was 

The monks arose at fifteen minutes before four o'clock each 
morning, and appeared in choir for Matins and Lauds on the hour. 
These offices were the morning prayers, and consisted primarily of 
psalmody, hymns, and the day's most substantial Scriptural and 
patristic readings. Fifty minutes later there began a period of silence 
for meditation, followed by Mass at fifteen minutes past five o'clock. 
Each monk attended at least two Masses a day, since in addition to 
the public Mass at a quarter past five, each priest said Mass sine 
populo" assisted by a brother or another cleric. 

At forty-five minutes past five o'clock there were brief offices, 
Prime and the "Little Hours," followed by breakfast at six o'clock. 
Lecture preparations, classes and work followed until fifteen minutes 
before noon, when the monks gathered for the Particular Examen, 
wherein they considered their weaknesses and sins, and were to 
resolve correction and amendment. Luncheon followed at noon, then 
Vespers at half past twelve. 

Following the afternoon's labors, the monks did lectio divina at half 
past five. The evening meal was at six o'clock. At half past seven the 
last common exercises were held, Compline (night prayer) and 

The horarium, instituted in all its rigors, was Haid's message of 
commitment. Though he did allow it to be interrupted briefly while 
the chapel was being painted and carpeted, 14 the schedule was 
intended to be essentially inviolable, concretizing the monastic 
emphasis Abbot Leo wished to promulgate and promote. He further 
buttressed his values by declaring that missionary work, Wimmer's 
special sphere of achievement, was to be the duty only of excess 
personnel, and not a primary apostolate. These were sound monastic 
values that the abbot-elect was sponsoring; they were ordinary and 
expected in established houses. But for a monastery that had acquired 
its personnel less than a month before, whose abbot was not yet 
blessed nor even confirmed by Rome, for a house in the middle of the 
nation's most non-Catholic state, and a monastery founded by 
Boniface Wimmer, these values were extraordinary, perhaps even 
premature. Leo Haid was aware, of course, that his neighbors in 

Gaston County were primarily curious about black robes, mysterious 
hooded figures, bells at odd hours, and similar externals. 15 But the 
young abbot-elect wanted his monks characterized, in their own 
minds at least, primarily by the exigencies of monasticism, and he 
wasted no time before mandating a clearly monastic organization of 
daily life. It was the first evidence of the seriousness with which he 
intended to give his monastic duties and abbatial paternity 
precedence over all else. 

The superior's early commitment was genuine, and the ever 
consonant Pohl was, of course, thrilled: the new horarium marked for 
him a "red letter day," 16 and he prayed fervently, "God grant that we 
may punctually observe the various points to which our superior 
alluded." 17 Nevertheless, perhaps through his inexperience as an 
administrator, even in these earliest days Father Leo exhibited a 
quality that would repeatedly hurt his objectives throughout the 
years of his administration: over-diversification. While trying to 
clearly focus his monks' lives on their monastery, he fragmented their 
efforts and disoriented their labors. The monks were farming, 
painting, cleaning, building, preparing for a new school year, making 
contacts, receiving guests." Haid had Brother Philip teach all the 
monks how to make wine. 19 And on the day he announced the school 
assignments for the year, the abbot-elect also began his first 
construction project, the east veranda — a concession to Southern 
living. 20 

The reverend administrator also made his first foray into the 
entanglements of the secular world during these early days in 
Garibaldi. This was an arena in which ecclesiastical muscle could not 
necessarily be depended upon. But Wimmer had been a master at 
earning his way — regardless of the forum — and Haid may have 
presumed such powers of persuasion came with the title. Father Leo, 
however, was not yet a master of the political skills that marked the 
archabbot's successes. 

His first rebuke came from the Richmond and Danville Railway 
Company. Haid had petitioned the firm on 31 July to schedule a 
regular stop for trains number fifty-two and fifty-three at the 
Garibaldi station. This was primarily for the convenience of students. 
The petition was ignored. He requested this service again on 28 
August. This time he got an immediate but negative response. A.L. 
Rives, a Vice President and General Manager, did however agree 
that the trains might stop if 1) Haid notified the Atlanta office in 
advance, and 2) the superintendent in Georgia thought the abbot- 
elect had "a sufficient number of passengers to justify" the stop. 21 In 
October he was even denied a clergy-pass for himself, though the 


company did at least express pleasure in "welcoming [Haid] to the 
sunny South." 22 

Father Leo's second pursuit of accommodation by secular 
authorities was somewhat more successful. The road from Garibaldi 
to the abbey was a narrow, muddy avenue that came within a few 
yards of the College Building — close enough for people to peer 
through the window as they passed — before taking a sharp turn west, 
then another northward to bypass the monastery. Haid considered 
the road both a nuisance and a danger. On one occasion he reported, 
"Last Saturday the Negroes had a PicNick [sic]. That night they made 
such a noise before the College that we were badly scared. One was 
shot a little down the road and one nearly stabbed to death. Five 
others were hurt. You see we must remove the road." 23 

This time Haid did get the results he wanted: the road was moved. 
It was only a partial victory, however, since the monastery had to 
assume responsibility for the weight of the work and expense. 24 The 
road remained a mere dirt surface— macadamized roads did not 
appear in Gaston County until 1906, when convict labor made such 
work feasible 25 — but it was at least moved. Still, Father Leo had not 
proven the man of influence he had expected to be, and as the 
beginning of the school term approached, he restricted the scope of 
his vision to the more immediate problems of the college. 

Haid's first address to the professors of Saint Mary's 
College — seven of his monks 26 — was in keeping with his monastic 
emphasis for the fathers' varied labors. He reminded them of their 
religious duties primarily, and secondarily of the importance of their 
position as founders of Maryhelp and Saint Mary's College. They 
must pave the road to virtue, he warned, so that each succeeding 
generation could be confident in the wisdom of imitating their 
example. 27 

Educational theory fascinated Haid, and he had the highest regard 
for the type of instructors who were both edifying and erudite, and 
who thus imparted values as well as learning. Primarily because of 
these criteria, Pohl was retained as director of the college. He, more 
than any of the other six professors, was proven in the educational 
approach the abbot-elect wanted. Indeed, Pohl was the only 
administrative subordinate appointed at Maryhelp that year. There 
was no procurator, prior, subprior, master of novices or clerics. Only 
Father Julius shared the burden of leadership. 

The institution that Haid envisioned promised above all else to give 
moral and religious training. In academic matters the instructors 
intended to "stimulate, test, and develop natural talents" while seeing 
that the training and scope of education were thorough. 28 "If learning, 

experience, and devotion to duty," Haid resolved, can contribute to 
the education of boys, then Saint Mary's College should be 
exemplary. "Nothing which will add to the spiritual or temporal well- 
being of [the] children will be wanting." 29 

The abbot-elect's enthusiasm for creating the proper environment 
for education occupied much of his time. He wrote the text for the 
school's charter himself, 30 fostering it so that when approved the 
following year, degrees could be granted in "various branches of 
science, literature, and the arts." 31 His interest in dramatics 
resurfaced, and he wrote longingly of the need for a campus theatre. 32 
The students even produced Saint Hermenegild of Spain. He had Father 
Roman form a brass band. 33 And Father Leo established the debating 
society himself 34 and ordered leather bound volumes for recording its 
activities. 35 

ABBot leo 

Though his appointment as administrator imparted all necessary 
executive power over the monastery and school, Leo Haid could not 
assume abbatial authority — legitimate paternity over the 
monks— until the Holy See confirmed his election. The ordinary 
expectation was that no actions were taken in Rome during the 
Stirling months of summer. Accordingly, a substantial delay was 
anticipated before Haid would be properly styled an abbot. Wimmer 
and his Roman allies pressed, however, and the confirmation was 
granted without problem on 30 August. 

The American Cassinese's Procurator in Rome advised Wimmer of 
the decision at once, but his cable was considered an unofficial notice. 
The documents of confirmation, yet to be issued, constituted the legal 
notifcation of Rome's judgment. Once the decision had been made, 
an official text had to be composed, then executed by hand on vellum 
in duplicate, and weighted finally with the official seals. One copy 
would be dispatched then to the praeses , in this case Wimmer. Finally 
the arch abbot would forward the document to Haid, whereupon 
protocol demanded that the local bishop — Henry Pinkney Northrop 
in Charleston, as head of the Vicariate Apostolic of North 
Carolina— be informed of the Confirmation before the news was 

That sequence was followed only through the part where Wimmer 
received the documents. Then the procedure loosened somewhat, 
and affectionate but alien hands interceded. Before Archabbot 
Boniface could inform Haid that the papers had been posted, Father 

Jerome Schmitt, O.S.B., of the archabbey, had already written 
Carolina. 36 The materials finally reached Wimmer on 2 1 October; 37 in 
the meantime, however, Haid had already told his monks of the 
confirmation, and Pohl had decided to plan a celebration for the day 
the documents reached Garibaldi. The papers were moving more 
quickly than the party arrangements, however, so Father Julius 
presumed to ask Wimmer to delay forwarding the documents to 
Abbot Leo. The archabbot no doubt registered some dismay at this 
request, but Pohl assured him that if "perhaps I am taking undue 
liberty," it was not from any "unworthy motive." 38 

Unbeknownst to Father Julius, Haid had already been in contact 
with Northrop — despite the absence of the documents. It was the 
bishop who would bestow the solemn abbatial blessing, and an 
impatient Father Leo had already made initial inquiries in September 
about the ceremony. Northrop decreed that the Blessing would take 
place in Charleston 39 — not Wilmington 40 or Garibaldi — but no date 
should be scheduled until the documents were actually issued and 
received. Again in the fall — still without seeing the 
authorization — Haid had requested Thursday, 26 November, 
Thanksgiving Day, for the blessing. He did not know that the Roman 
documents were then being delayed for the sake of party 
preparations. 41 

This time, aware that the papers were yet to appear, Northrop did 
not answer Haid's letter. Instead he had William Wright, one of his 
Charleston priests, inform Father Leo that the proposed date of the 
blessing was acceptable. This notification was, of course, unofficial. 
Nevertheless, on 1 November, Haid mailed both the invitations to 
the blessing and— to Archabbot Boniface— notice that at last the 
decree and letters were in his possession. 42 

Father Julius* party had inspired "great rejoicing" at Saint Mary's 
College. But for Leo Haid it also aroused a painful melancholy. "I 
think I am the only one who did not feel glad," he wrote Wimmer. 
The conflict of the monk, the son of Wimmer, caught now 
irreversibly in the active web of a new abbey, its college, and its 
missions, weighed heavily on the freshly confirmed abbot. He might 
want to keep his monks at their abbey, but he was also responsible for 
dependent monastic foundations in Savannah and Richmond. They 
were his to guide; they were his to staff. What overwhelmed Abbot 
Leo at this point, was the thought that he could not face these 
responsibilities without Wimmer. He wrote the archabbot 

I hope, dear Father, you will not consider it a formality when I earnestly 
beg you to be with me on that day [of the abbatial blessing]. Indeed, I am 

only expressing the sincerest wish of my heart. Without you, the day would 
be a sorry one for me. 43 

It was a journey Wimmer dreaded. He was nearing his seventy- 
seventh birthday by this time, and his stamina was failing. But "I 
have to attend the solemnity," he complained to Joseph Amberger, 
4 "which means a long trip for me, during the winter — and it might 
mean being absent three or four weeks in all." 44 To Haid, however, 
the old man merely sent a promise of attendance. Wrote the abbot in 
return, "Oh, I wish everything was over!" 45 Wimmer, one assumes, 

Haid drafted the invitations himself, giving them the cordial 
informality of an epistolary format: 46 

Abbey of Saint Mary of Perpetual Help 
Garabaldi P.O., Gaston Co., N.C. 

October 1885 

You are cordially invited to be present at my Benediction which will take 
place in the Cathedral Chapel, 47 of Saint John the Baptist, Charleston, 
South Carolina, Thursday, 26 November at 9:30 a.m. 

Most fraternally, 
P. Leo Haid, O.S.B. 


The text is striking in its humility. The rather egalitarian "most 
fraternally," replaced the first draft's more formal 'Very sincerely." 
The signature "P. Leo Haid" was the same as an ordinary priest 
would use. And the tone of the invitation seems clearly distanced 
from the aristocratic overtones that would appear later in his reign. 

Haid's text for the invitation also included two errors. 48 He used 
the wrong title in reference to the titular and patroness of the 
abbey— "Perpetual Help" rather than "Help of Christians"— and the 
variant spelling of Garibaldi is substituted. The latter error may have 
been an effort to allay any suggestion that the town had some 
connection with the Italian politico of that name; the monks had also 
placed the alternative rendering on the stamp for the college library, 
for example, though they used the correct spelling for mailing 
purposes and the official catalogue of the school. There is no extant 
rationale, however, for either of the two inaccuracies in the 

Gibbons, by this time archbishop of Baltimore, was invited to 
preach 49 at the first abbatial blessing for the monastery he helped 
establish. He neither preached, nor even attended, however, citing 
conflicts— he planned to be in Rome. The Bishop of Nashville, 

Joseph Rademacher, who had studied at Saint Vincent, preached in 
his stead. Abbot Leo invited the bishops from Galveston, Mobile, 
Richmond, San Antonio, and Saint Augustine, too, as well as the 
three Benedictines who were bishops, from the Sees of Leavenworth, 
Yankton, and Saint Cloud. The abbots of Saint Vincent, Saint John 
(Minnesota), Saint Benedict (Kansas), Saint Mary (New Jersey), 
Saint Meinrad ( Indiana ), and Conception ( Missouri ) were invited, 
as was Isidor Robot from Sacred Heart in the Indian Territory. 50 
Attendance, however, was rather disappointing. Haid, who was 
determined that everything "be made to accomodate our dear 
friends," 51 found only a fraction of the invited dignitaries available. 
Wimmer, more experienced in the political overtones such occasions 
tended to acquire, gave the new abbot no sympathy. Bishop Keane of 
Richmond, Wimmer noted for example, should hardly have been 
expected since "with him the Benedictines rate only as brewers and 
drinkers of beer" 52 — a comforting observation, no doubt, for a new 
prelate who had to operate a mission in Keane 's territory. 

The solemn abbatial blessing of Leo Haid 53 was an unpretentious 
ceremony; yet because it was the first in the South it attracted 
considerable attention. Of Haid's monks, only Fathers Willibald, 
Melchior, and Julius — one from each of the monasteries — were 
present. Melchior was crucifer; Willibald was ceremoniarius , and Julius 
assisted. Of the bishops, only Northrop, who officiated, and 
Rademacher, who preached, attended. All of the Cassinese abbots 
were there, however: Wimmer (Saint Vincent), Edelbrock (Saint 
John), Wolf (Saint Benedict), and Zilliox (Saint Mary). The latter two 
served as the new abbot's pontifical chaplains in the ceremony. 

The blessing, though small in scale, was not without solemnity. 
The official party processed into the chapel where Northrop, 
standing to the right of the altar, received the vestments of the Mass. 
Haid went to the side altar and donned the stole and cope. The abbot- 
elect read the profession of faith, after which the notary read the 
Apostolic Brief confirming the abbatial election. Northrop responded 
with ' 'Deo gratia. ' 1 Haid knelt before the episcopal Ordinary and took 
the oath of fidelity; he then underwent the examination. The Mass 
and the intricate ritual of the blessing — punctuated with excerpts 
from Haydn's Creation — proceeded, taking three hours and forty 
minutes. He received the Regula of Benedict, which it was now his 
solemn duty to preserve and to actualize with his monks, then a gold 
and amethyst ring — a gift from his mother 54 — which symbolized the 
obligation of constancy and fidelity; the abbatial mitre was placed on 
his head; the crozier, indicative of his stewardship over the monks of 
Maryhelp, was placed in his left hand. Abbot Leo Haid received the 

obeisance—a kiss of the ring— of Fathers Melchior, Willibald, and 
Julius representing the monks of Savannah, Richmond, and 
Garibaldi, respectively. The abbot passed through the church blessing 
the people, with Pohl at his side. Not until ten minutes past one 
o'clock that afternoon did Abbot Leo, dressed in the prelatial livery 
of his office, step outside the Chapel of the Baptist. 

That afternoon, Northrop entertained the visiting and local clergy 
at the episcopal residence in Charleston, and Captain Young gave the 
guests a tour of the city's harbor aboard the tug Monarch. But the true 
finale was to be an address by the new abbot, presented that evening 
in the Cathedral Chapel. The bishop had requested the speech, and 
had scheduled it for that same, and already busy, day in order to 
capitalize on popular interest while memories of the morning's 
pageantry were fresh. The topic assigned to the speaker was 
monastic ism. 55 

The address was Haid's first opportunity to expose both his 
erudition and his concept of monasticism to people outside the 
cloister. Dressed in his monastic habit, with the pectoral cross, 
zuchetto, and ring, the regalia of his abbatial character, Leo Haid 
recited a full hour of monastic history, with a pointed emphasis on 
the centuries of misunderstanding suffered by Benedictines. The 
response was not favorable. The audience found him too glib; the 
Pittsburgh Dispatch called the abbot "sarcastic." 56 Haid had 
overplayed the occasion. His images of people who had seen the first 
blessings of abbots — these "savage bands gazed in awe," he said, they 
were "fierce barbarians, [who] like pent-up wolves broke from their 
forest homes and spread ruin and desolation over civilized 
Europe"— overshadowed his explanations of monks and their 
purpose. The bombast outweighed the eloquence. That was especially 
unfortunate since the hour was not without moments of valuable 
revelation regarding the abbot's concept of the monastic ethos. But 
warring hoards of barbarians tended to seize the mind more readily 
than the "yearning i n every human heart after solitude and quiet." 57 
The speech was an embarrassing failure, and not the successful debut 
he had anticipated. 

The five abbots— Wimmer, Edelbrock, Wolf, Zilliox, and 
Haid— left early Friday morning by train for Garibaldi. The 
excursion was Wimmer's idea. It not only got Abbot Leo out of town 
after his anticlimactic address of the previous evening, it also allowed 
the visiting abbots to "see for themselves the condition and prospect" 
of Maryhelp. The prelates spent two full days studying the 
foundation in Carolina, meeting students, and considering the future 
of the isolated abbey and its inexperienced leader. They left Monday 

morning admitting, according to Wimmer, 'that the small monastery 
offers all that would be required for a speedy and prosperous 
development." 58 It is no longer possible to document whether the 
archabbot correctly surmised his colleagues' impressions, but there 
was at least one auspicious result of this journey: Abbot Alexius 
Edelbrock of Saint John Abbey and Abbot Leo developed what was 
to prove a lasting friendship that would bring considerable comfort to 
each prelate during the ensuing imbroglios for which their reigns 
would be noted. Leo Haid counted very few people as true friends, so 
the discovery of Edelbrock was of particular importance to him. 

While the abbots of Saint John, Saint Benedict, and Saint Mary 
travelled northward on Monday, 30 November, those of Saint 
Vincent and Maryhelp went south to Savannah. The Georgia house 
was to be the most successful of Haid's dependencies eventually, and 
already showed great promise. It was older than Maryhelp; its land 
mass was greater; the local Catholics were supportive. All it seemed 
to lack was abbatial rank. And were the project not situated so far 
south, Savannah rather than Garibaldi would surely have been the 
abbey erected in 1884. 

Dom Garbriel Bergier, O.S.B., a monk of Subiaco, and Dom 
Raphael Wissel, O.S.B., from Pierre-qui-Vire, had established the 
Savannah monastery in 1874, centering their work at property on the 
Isle of Hope. In 1878, a large block of land on Skidaway Island was 
added to their holdings. But the yellow fever epidemic in Savannah 
left the Benedictines with little future there, and too much loss to 
recoup. So the remnant was removed to the more promising territory 
of Oklahoma, and Boniface Wimmer agreed to staff the abandoned 
Savannah monastery. Oswald Moosmueller was appointed the first 
superior, arriving in Savannah on 1 March 1877, and he had been 
there since then, working primarily with the blacks through parochial 
ministry and a small industrial school. The foundation was ceded to 
the Carolina monastery when the latter achieved the abbatial rank. 

Wimmer had given the Savannah mission to Maryhelp, however, 
without deigning to remove his own personnel. And in the four days 
Haid and the archabbot spent together in Savannah no action was 
taken to correct the situation. So when the two abbots left — both 
men going to Atlanta, and from there Wimmer toward Chattanooga 
and Haid back to Garibaldi — Oswald Moosmueller of Saint Vincent 
was still in charge, with Melchior Reichert of Maryhelp under him. 
Relations were quickly and severely strained. 

The problem was that Moosmueller, who was primarily 
responsible for the success of the Savannah mission, had no desire to 
leave his work there, or to subordinate it to the monks of the new 

abbey. Had Father Oswald followed Wimmer's suggestion and joined 
Maryhelp's founding monks, the new abbot could have kept the same 
staff in Savannah, leaving Moosmueller's ministry intact. But since 
the older priest had refused to transfer stability, and had shown 
hostility toward the young foundation, Haid was obliged, as the 
major superior, to insure that his own abbey assumed true 
responsibility for Benedictine life in Savannah. 

Initially, however, Haid had been open to the prospect of 
Moosmueller remaining temporarily in Savannah. Father Oswald 
was a popular, well established Benedictine representative, and the 
longer his attachment to Savannah was allowed to endure, it seemed 
reasonable to presume, the more the prospects of his affiliating with 
Maryhelp increased. Moreover, because Abbot Leo was short of 
personnel, and one of his monks, Father Melchior, was already 
assigned to Georgia, Garibaldi had no other priests to contribute 
conveniently to the Savannah work. Accordingly, when in 1885 
word circulated that Moosmueller would leave his work with the 
blacks, Haid had to appeal to Wimmer for the replacement. The 
congregation under Father Oswald was very promising and required 
experienced hands, he said; the archabbot would have to supply 
someone. 39 Accordingly, Wimmer left Moosmueller in Georgia, and 
retained control de facto if not de jure. Haid was in no position, and 
had no inclination, to fight the Pennsylvania abbot, and assured his 
mentor, "Whatever you may do there I certainly will be grateful 
for." 60 While on that first visit to Georgia, however, Abbot Leo did 
take the precaution of having the corporate structure transferred to 
the jurisdiction of Maryhelp, 61 and Wimmer was pleased at his largess 
in having 'turned it over to him." 62 

The Ordinary of Savannah in 1885 was William Gross, C.SS.R. 
Bishop Gross* brother, Mark, was a priest of the Vicariate Apostolic 
of North Carolina, stationed at this time at Saint Peter in Charlotte. 
Mark Gross was in a good position to study the new abbot at 
Maryhelp and advise his brother, the bishop of Savannah. As a result, 
both the Gross brothers thought highly of Haid, and made every 
effort to promote his work. Unfortunately for good diocesan relations 
in Savannah, however, Bishop Gross was promoted in 1886 to the 
archiepiscopal See of Oregon City. 

During the substantial interregnum that followed for the Church 
in Savannah, Father Edward Cafferty served as administrator of the 
diocese. This priest, a confidant of Father Oswald's, bore no 
particular affection for Haid or his activities in the Diocese of 
Savannah. Within a month, Cafferty was ready to issue a formal 
complaint against the Carolina Benedictines. Claiming to have been 

informed — apparently by Moosmueller — that Haid was 
"corresponding with Reverend Father Melchior with the view of 
giving up, or moving the industrial School for colored boys on 
Skidaway Island," the diocesan administrator wrote a rather caustic 
reprimand to Wimmer. 63 This was brash on several counts: 1) neither 
Wimmer nor Haid was first asked about the situation on 3kidaway; 
thus they were accused without contrary evidence being requested; 2) 
the legitimate superior in Georgia, Haid, was snubbed on the pretext 
of the original invitation into the diocese having been extended not to 
Abbot Leo, but to Boniface Wimmer; 64 3) the archabbot was being 
rebuked for a situation not technically under his jurisdiction: and 4) 
the letter carried a particularly insulting reference for an autonomous 
Benedictine abbot, in this case Haid, wherein the head of the 
Garibaldi abbey was described as a "subordinate" of Wimmer's. 65 
Both abbots were incensed. 

The roots of the rumor lay in Haid's desire for an economical and 
efficient arrangement of Benedictine personnel in Georgia. Because 
the monks' labors were so dispersed in Savannah, with parish work in 
the city, a chapel on Isle of Hope, and the monastery, industrial 
school and farm at Skidaway, more monks were required than the 
labor justified. Time and efficiency were destroyed by the fragmen- 
tation of efforts. Moosmueller, whose work centered on the parish, 
wanted to insure the retention of that apostolate even though it of- 
fered less land and security for the monastery than did the rest of the 
Georgia project. Cafferty, as administrator sede vacante, was required 
to hand over the diocese intact when the new bishop took office. 
Moreover, decree 407 of the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore, 
he charged, required a six months notice before an Order could aban- 
don such an apostolate. It was Cafferty 's intention not only to secure 
what church law required, and to delay or block a reduced Benedic- 
tine presence in Savannah, but to insure that Moosmueller's 
apostolate would be saved as well. "It is obvious that the house on 
Skidaway needs the house in the City," he wrote Wimmer, ''both 
must be kept and work together and must not be separated." 66 

The affair was settled easily, since Haid had not seriously 
entertained closing Skidaway anyway. But the necessity of staffing 
Savannah with his own men became even more obvious, and Abbot 
Leo began considering the necessary shifts in personnel that would 
facilitate the departure of Oswald Moosmueller. 

But by summer, there appeared to be yet another problem in 
Savannah, this one more pressing than the first. This time 
Moosmueller reported to Haid that Father Melchior, who usually 

lived on Skidaway, apart from any other priests, was taking to drink. 
Haid immediately recalled Reichert to Mary help, hoping to prevent 
scandal, and Wimmer was persuaded to send Cyprian Creagh to 
assist in the Savannah work. At the abbey, Father Melchior was 
found to be suffering from exhaustion rather than effects of alcohol. 67 

In Father Melchior's absence, Oswald Moosmueller moved to 
acquire for himself the new parish of Saint Benedict the Moor in 
Savannah. 68 Wimmer acquiesced, on the condition that it be turned 
over to the Carolina abbey. This was not, however, what 
Moosmueller had in mind. Agreeing in principle, Father Oswald 
suggested to Wimmer that Abbot Leo should only take possession of 
the Savannah missions one place at a time. And until Haid was able 
to staff this new parish, Father Oswald should plan to live in town, 
while Mary help's men resided at Skidaway. And if one of Haid's 
priests "likes to come in town for a certain Sunday to preach in my 
Church, I will pay them for it." 69 

Not necessarily by coincidence, Abbot Leo suddenly decided he 
had two priests too many assigned to the college in Garibaldi. And 
since it was imperative by this time that from Haid's men "someone 
becomes acquainted with the Savannah Parish," 70 Father Patrick 
Donlon was sent to Georgia to replace Father Cyprian, at least for 
the present. Moosmueller understood what was happening, and 
finally concluded, "I supposed the best will be that I make myself also 
ready to leave the diocese." 71 Wimmer concurred, and at his 
instruction Father Oswald agreed to write Abbot Leo tendering all 
the Savannah missions "into his care." 72 

Of course, all of these machinations were being undertaken 
without consulting Haid. Boniface Wimmer, a patriarch to the end, 
was still supervising the Savannah missions he had theoretically aban- 
doned more than a year before. And since the archabbot had already 
announced Saint Vincent's intention to remain in Savannah for yet 
another year, Oswald Moosmueller's letter of resignation, addressed 
to Haid, who was not even the man's superior, posed a substantial 
shock. Abbot Leo was in the difficult position of wanting control of 
his missions, being uncertain of his resources for staffing them, con- 
templating the potential damage from Moosmueller's diatribes if that 
priest were forced out of his Savannah work, and above all of not 
wanting to offend Boniface Wimmer. "In a former letter you said you 
wished to keep Savannah, etc. for another year," he lamented to the 

I do not wish to do anything in this matter except I have definite informa- 
tion from you; if you wish to keep the places for one year more, I am 

satisfied; but if you think it better that I should take them now very well, I 
will, but write immediately. I then will write to Father Oswald and appoint 
some older Priest to take his place. From his letter it would seem he wishes to 

Finally, it was again decided that Moosmueller would remain in 
Savannah. George Lester, a priest of Maryhelp, was sent to help 
Father Melchior during the week and Father Oswald on Sundays. 74 
And the contretemps was clearly resolved in favor of all of Oswald 
Moosmueller's desires. He even acquired to the bonus of a non- 
resident assistant, Father Lester. 

When Bishop Thomas Becker of Wilmington, Delaware, was 
transferred to the See of Savannah, Moosmueller wasted no time in 
ingratiating himself with the prelate. The result this time was a 
reported episcopal recommendation that the Savannah Benedictines 
be constituted a central mission station, with their own novitiate. 
And as Father Oswald cunningly wrote Wimmer, the new bishop 
"understands very well, that Abbot Leo is not able to do what he 
wants and expects that the Benedictines should do for this Mission." 75 

With this scheme Moosmueller's days in Savannah finally earned a 
deadline. Haid refused to entertain any motions for Saint Vincent ac- 
quiring yet another year in Georgia. By summer, Abbot Leo was 
totally enraged with Moosmueller, his murmurings against the 
Maryhelp Benedictines, and his efforts to sabotage relations with 
Becker. He wrote to Wimmer, 

Our Fathers with good reasons do not wish to live under Father Oswald, 
and I cannot expect it. Father Oswald first wanted to take Savannah from 
us and make it independent. Then he wished to unite it to Florida-then to 
Newark. This certainly does not look as if he cared for us. He would have 
been welcome had he desired to join us-but this he will not do. If he re- 
mains in Savannah, our Fathers can beg-for all money will go to him. He 
has the confidence of the Bishop too, and in every way it would be better for 
us if you could appoint him to another field. I appreciate his labors-at least 
his good intentions-but that is no reason why we should bear the burden. I 
labored for fifteen years in the College and had to be satisfied to go into a 
new place too. Personally I have nothing against Father Oswald; but it will 
never do any good as long as two monasteries are working in the same 
place-as the affair stands in Savannah. I only make these suggestions; you 
are still at liberty to do as you please. 76 

It was a surprisingly strong declaration of autonomy for Haid to 
issue, and it brought the Savannah conflict into the open definitively. 
This time the abbot of Maryhelp was determined to outflank Oswald 

Father Melchior, presumed innocent of Moosmueller's charges of 
intoxication, had returned to Savannah, but the Saint Vincent 

Benedictine wasted no time in raising the charges anew. 77 
Accordingly, the following summer, Reichert was again recalled to 
the abbey, where he lived "more like a Saint than a bad man as he 
was described." 78 And by July Haid had resolved to end 
Moosmueller's interference in the work of Mary help. 

Becker scheduled an interview with Haid that same month. 
Melchior Reichert, they agreed, was guilty of no offenses, and should 
be reassigned to Savannah. It was further arranged that Mary help 
would station three priests at the Skidaway monastery, from which 
they could cover Sacred Heart parish, Skidaway, and Saint Benedict 
the Moor; they would also be willing, the abbot suggested, to receive 
male negro orphans at Skidaway. The new arrangements increased 
the efficiency of the Benedictines' apostolic activity in Georgia, and 
by having the monks live in community, Haid would "not expose 
anyone to the dangers of living alone; at the same time they can 
encourage and help each other." 79 There was no more need for 
Oswald Moosmueller in Savannah. Haid wrote Wimmer, "You can 
call Father Oswald away in eight or ten days." Father William 
became prior of the monastery; Melchior Reichert took over 
Moosmueller's charge; and George Lester administered Skidaway. 
The deeds and official papers were transferred from Father Oswald to 
Abbot Leo in the presence of Bishop Becker, and the troublesome 
"divided jurisdiction," as Becker called it, was officially at an end. 80 

Life in CaRoliru 

The turmoil in Savannah was not the only problem of Leo Haid's 
early years in Garibaldi. Even nature seemed to conspire against him. 
He found poisonous copperheads on the grounds; 81 the trees were 
endangered by the county-wide blight; 82 the winter of 1885-1886 was 
one of the coldest ever, with temperatures as low as thirteen degrees 
below zero, and ice six inches deep on ponds. 83 The most dramatic of 
the first year's calamities was the Charleston earthquake. It occured 
at the end of August 1886, with after-shocks continuing for months. 84 
The quake was strong enough to shake Gaston County residents 
from their beds, 85 although at Maryhelp the only real damage 
consisted of some cracked arches in the College Building. 86 

A more constant problem for Haid was his chief boarder, Father 
O'Connell. There is no reason to doubt the old priest's good 
intentions or his faith in Maryhelp. Through these Benedictines, he 
believed, "the sacred influence of religion will be spread around until 
the wilderness will blossom like the rose, and the praises of God day 
and night fill the air, breathe in the valleys, and mingle with the voice 

of the waters." 87 And Haid responded to the man with genuine 
warmth and solicitude. He praised his boarder's kindness, 88 and 
worried about his illnesses; 89 Abbot Leo even gave O'Connell a 
Benedictine habit and cuculla, which reportedly made the old man as 
happy as "a boy who wears his first boots." 90 

But Jeremiah O'Connell also displayed what the abbot charitably 
described as "a great interest in everything." 91 And various frictions 
developed. The clerics objected to studying theology, as Pohl had 
done, under their secular counterpart. This left the abbot to handle 
the duties of Master in the theologate. 92 O'Connell expressed constant 
displeasure about Brother Cornelius, who had served as the old 
priest's manservant since before Haid had even seen North Carolina. 
Brother's rheumatism, it seemed, interfered with waiting upon the 
clergyman. 93 So Haid was pressured into making his first shift within 
his limited personnel in Carolina, replacing the rheumatic servant 
with Brother Bruno. 94 

Father O'Connell also quarreled with another brother during 
Haid's first months in the South. In an effort to lure him into a per- 
manent affiliation with Maryhelp, Philip Cassidy was invited to 
North Carolina at the end of August 1885. Remembering 
O'ConnelPs past friendship with the Irish brother, the two men were 
lodged together in the priest's cottage. But without Herman Wolfe to 
amuse them, the two Irishmen turned on one another. They quarrel- 
ed. O'Connell petitioned Haid to remove Brother Philip from the 
premises, and in the interest of domestic peace, Cassidy was per- 
manently lost to Maryhelp. 95 

With O'Connell at the center of so much contention, at least Ab- 
bot Leo had the comfort of the priest's enjoying separate living ar- 
rangements. In this way, the monks and the old missionary could 
achieve a comfortable distance when conditions demanded. It was, 
then, a double shock when the monks were awakened at three 
o'clock, on the morning of 9 January 1886, by the flames of Father 
O'ConnelPs cottage, just a few feet from the monastery. 

The priest's house was a frame structure, and once the fire started 
it spread readily. Some furniture was saved, but few of the old man's 
mementos and possessions were spared. And there was no insurance 
on the cottage. 96 

In the cellar beneath O'Connell's residence the "New Catawba 
Mass Wine," made by the monks, was stored. 97 All twenty-eight 
gallons of that were lost when the brothers mistakenly saved a cask of 
vinegar instead of the altar wine. 98 Two hundred empty bottles were 
sacrificed, as well, 99 along with the seeds for the spring crops. 100 It was 
a costly fire for both the monks and for Jeremiah O'Connell. Never- 


theless, Haid was thankful for the warning the fire granted, "for had 
the wind turned only a little, nothing could have saved our frame 
[monastery]." 101 Never again, the abbot resolved, would wooden 
structures be placed in such close proximity to one another. 102 

While awaiting construction of a new dwelling, Father O'Connell 
moved into the monastery, where he complained of discomfort and 
missing possessions. 103 "He does not wish to remain [in the 
monastery]," wrote Haid, "nor do I want him." 104 This mutual 
displeasure did not, however, speed agreement regarding the type of 
dwelling to be constructed for the old gentleman. Abbot Leo wanted 
to erect a brick house of some size, one that could later serve as a 
guest lodge, and immediately double as a residence for visiting priests. 
O'Connell objected, out of fear that he would be impeded from his 
desire to live alone, and he finally won because he refused to con- 
tribute more than two hundred dollars toward the cost of a new 
building, whatever size it was. So a small, four room, frame cottage 
was designed and carefully erected by the brothers. 105 Haid had it 
positioned a safe twenty-five yards south of the center of his 
campus. 106 The abbot's cost totalled about one hundred dollars, plus a 
month of labor by the brothers. 107 

While dealing with O'Connell was initiating the young abbot in 
techniques of diplomacy and domestic bargaining, other skills — 
equally necessary — were being sought by Haid. Agricultural exper- 
tise was the most pressing of these. Wimmer, of course, had loved far- 
ming, and proposed it as a positive virtue. Benedict too provided for 
this work. Yet although Abbot Leo acquired a reputation as "a 
reasonable and zealous farmer... almost as proud of his cows and his 
farm and fields as of Church and Cloister," 108 he detested the work, 
and accepted it only as an obligation. 109 His one determination was 
that the abbey farm be a paying proposition. 110 Accordingly, the more 
experienced Brother Stephen was made the farm's immediate 
supervisor, and winter grains and summer staples kept the land in 
constant use. 111 The abbot ordered an additional one hundred sixty 
acres cleared for his crops; a peach orchard was planted; the vineyard 
expanded; a vegetable garden for house supplies supplemented the 
larger crops. Haid had seven dairy cows, and he did the milking 
himself, alongside "my faithful darkey." 112 He found wild strawberries 
on the grounds, too, and had them harvested. 113 By the spring of 
1886, he could already boast confidently, "Farming will pay this 
year." 114 

In his first months in North Carolina, Haid farmed, ruled his 
monks, followed the monastic horarium, gave missions, taught in the 
college, taught the theologians twice daily, learned wine making, 

juggled personnel and finances. At the end of only nine weeks in the 
South he reported a loss of seventeen pounds 115 from his already slight 
frame. But he refused either to slow his pace or appoint other 
officials. Monks were in short supply, and he accepted a plethora of 
duties that should have been shared, covered by as many as five men. 
"I am just driven to work by circumstances," he reported to Zilliox, 
"in fact my poor conscience squeezes me awfully for idleness at 
times. ,,n6 

Both the personnel problem and the burden of Haid's conscience 
and personal work load were rooted in the stricter level of monastic 
observance he expected of his monks. Wimmer, for all his failings, his 
gruffhess, his self will and determination, was a deeply pastoral man. 
He enjoyed the paternalistic duties that followed on priestly 
solicitude. Benedictine moderation was a sacred trust, in the 
archabbot's view, a peculiarly astute psychological insight into the 
guidance of men toward God. But Haid had no parish experience, 
and the only souls he had guided were those of carefully supervised 
young men in the seminary in Pennsylvania. He had not yet learned 
the balance required in spiritual paternity any more than he had a 
concept of the diplomacy needed for handling an old man like 
O'Connell. Lacking the skilled use of such tools as subtlety, he 
resorted to work as an answer, personal hard labor. He depended on 
energy and effort to supply for the talents he neither understood nor 
believed to be at his command or within his potential. 

Theologically, Abbot Leo's principles of monastic life centered on 
the proposition, "God is a necessity in life." In the secular world, men 
were distracted from the Deity by the pressing demands of then- 
possessions, he suggested. For this reason, goods were — ideally, at 
least — put aside so the monk could focus on the one true necessity, 
God. Then, because the Divinity was not indifferent regarding His 
service by man, He offered the monastic vocation; He called some 
men to this particular focus on the Lord. The monk abandoned 
possessions, turned his life, work, and thoughts to God, and thusly 
recognized the Godhead as the "all sufficient possession," one that 
was able to lend peace to the soul and to satisfy its longing. On a more 
external level, the monk served the two-fold purpose of being a holy 
offering — a sacrifice — to God, and of edifying, being an example to 
other men. 117 But the monks' abandonment of things "of the world" 
was a basic and essential element of their lives. It was also the reason 
they were willing to exert the extraordinary effort their abbot asked 
of them, and to give themselves totally to the values and conditions 
of monasticism. 

Haid reasoned that his monks should recognize an obligation in 

their monastic lives to strive after perfection, to be a saint, to be "in 
miniature a picture of God." That in turn should support both their 
vocations to holiness, and to sacrifice and edification, and thus prove 
a support for their spirituality and their work. In this intricate 
admixture of God and man, personal needs and charitable efforts, 
Leo Haid found the font for "the holy enthusiasm which animated 
the children of Saint Benedict." It was an exciting and real element of 
theology, of the presence of Divinity in his life. For him, "it makes 
monastic life sweet, lightens every cross, and seasons every deed." 118 
As abbot, he considered it his duty to communicate these principles 
to the monks of Maryhelp. Each was to exhibit the focus on God 
through sacrifice and edification. 

To aid the monks in considering the integrity of their monastic 
lives, Abbot Leo drew up a spiritual inventory of twenty questions. 
The list was generally undistinguished, drawing on the basic elements 
ordinarily represented in such documents and in the monstic Rituale . 
What was of special note was the question he wrote at the head of the 
list, underscoring its emphasis: "Do I really long to become a Perfect 
Religious?" 119 This was the crux for the abbot of Maryhelp, and there 
was little he would not do for willing spirits who did manifest this 
longing. It even prompted him to offer periods of trial at Maryhelp to 
at least twenty monks who had proven unsuitable at their original 
monasteries. He intended to be 

kind to them all. I look upon each [monk] as called by God, and treat them 
accordingly. Yet, I must see to it that the Rule is kept. But I never correct 
one harshly. I preach to them every Sunday, and find no difficulty in 
keeping them to their duties. As they are the first, I must see to it that those 
who follow will have a good example to imitate. 120 

Nevertheless, at the same time, there was nothing Haid proved less 
capable of understanding throughout the years of his monastic 
tenure, than an unwilling spirit. Recalcitrance, ill will, deception, 
these mystified him, and he was never able to deal effectively with 
the weaker spirits who came to his monastery. His one answer was 
activity. "I must have work for my priests," 121 he would lament; 
indeed, he intended never to have more men at his disposal than there 
was work to keep them occupied. 122 

The great variable in the scheduling of the duties of Maryhelp's 
monk-priests was pastoral work. In his first two years, when men 
were in short supply, the abbot gradually relinquished some of the 
parochial commitments in North Carolina. Lincolnton was retained, 
as was Saint Mary and Saint Joseph, about four miles from the 
abbey. But Dallas was discontinued permanently; the monks 

withdrew from frequent visitations of Salisbury, Greensboro, 
Statesville, and Winston; Saint James in Concord became irregular. 
The only mission added was Saint Benedict, a chapel Haid had 
constructed on the abbey's grounds for the blacks — who he believed 
were uncomfortable in the company of southern whites. 123 

Regarding priests, however, the monastery was growing at a very 
respectable rate. So the initial reduction of pastoral commitments 
may not have been as permanent in intention as it first seemed. In 
December of 1885, Bishop Northrop went to the abbey to preside at 
its first ordinations. On Thursday, 17 December, Roman Kirchner 
and Charles Mohr were ordained subdeacons; on Friday, Kirchner 
and Mohr, plus Patrick Donlon, Walter Leahy, and George Lester 
were raised to the deaconate. And on Saturday, Lester, Donlon, and 
Leahy were admitted to the presbyterate. The abbot concluded, 
"God's blessing rests on the labors of the new Benedictine 
Community." 124 

In March of 1886, Hintemeyer was ordained a priest and finally 
journeyed to his new abbey. Haid's first three novices, Benedict 
Roth, Bernard Haas, and Francis Meyer were summoned to 
Mary help from the Congregation's novitiate at Saint Vincent, 
arriving on the twelfth. On 22 June, Mohr and Kirchner were 
ordained priests. Frederick Mueller became the first student in the 
school to enter the Benedictine novitiate for Maryhelp; he was 
received on 10 July. The next day the older three novices pronounced 
their vows, after which Haid administered the Minor Orders for the 
first time. "I am so glad these young people are so good," 125 he wrote 
Abbot Alexius in Minnesota. Mueller, who took the name "Joseph" 
in religion, was sent to Saint Vincent for his novitiate training. He 
"has shown a good will," Haid told Wimmer, "and I hope, as he has 
talents, he will do well" 126 

Indeed, there was a great deal of talent being manifested in Haid's 
cadre of clerical monks. Father Roman showed signs of gifts for 
managerial and pastoral work. Leahy was turning into a forceful 
young man, a leader possessed of strong convictions. Father Charles 
showed academic promise. And Abbot Leo was determined that all 
these skills and interests should be developed and wisely employed. 
But one man surfaced who was not only gifted and intelligent, but 
who was also destined to become as close to a personal friend as Haid 
would ever know at Maryhelp during his years as abbot. There would 
be various warm professional friendships — such as the one with 
Edelbrock — but few instances of genuine friendship with those 
whom the abbot encountered daily. And surprisingly, it was not 
Julius Pohl with whom these ties developed. Father Julius, although 

idolized by the boys, was never at ease with the younger monks who 
entered Maryhelp. He became moody and even had to be coaxed 
from his cell, 127 until finally Abbot Leo sent the priest to other work. 

The man who became Haid's closest advisor and friend was young 
Felix Hintemeyer, the intellectual cleric who had remained at Saint 
Vincent in 1885 for advanced studies. Hintemeyer was that rare 
combination of gentleness, leadership, and devotion that Haid 
considered ideal in his monks. Father Felix was a bespectacled man 
of almost twenty-five when he reached Maryhelp in 1886. A bit of 
baby fat made him appear even younger, while his wavy hair was 
reminiscent of his abbot's at that age. Hintemeyer was tender- 
hearted, too. He loved the sisters when they moved near the abbey, 
and he had a special fondness for children. He even chose to celebrate 
his silver jubilee by having a grand first communion Mass for twenty- 
five children. 128 

Hintemeyer was a remarkably humble man who dedicated his 
actute intellect as well as the full breadth of his spirit to the needs of 
his monastery, and more particularly to his abbot. Father Felix had 
the personal confidence and clarity of vision, balanced by genuine 
selflessness and ready chairty, that made him Leo Haid's ideal 
complement. He shared with the abbot intellectual interests, 
pedagogical skills, a common piety, and thorough devotion to the 
Order, the abbey, and their work. He surpassed the abbot in the 
ability to deal with subordinates. But the true distinction of Felix 
Hintemeyer's service was the ability and desire to focus that intellect, 
will, and talent on a single person or cause. In this case the person 
was Leo Haid; the cause was the "glorification of God" through 
Maryhelp Abbey. His selflessness and imposing capabilities were 
channeled into the manifestation of a loyalty he never compromised. 
Through that virtue, Hintemeyer gave the abbot a support that 
existed in no other forum of his jurisdiction. 

Felix Hintemeyer had originally committed himself to Maryhelp 
with reluctance and reservations. The young man "dreadfed] the 
unknown evils [down] in poor North Carolina — which. ..even Saint 
Benedict could not find." 129 As abbot-elect, Haid encouraged 
Hintemeyer, however, thinking this intelligent young man a potential 
professor for the planned seminary. 130 Then as the two men grew 
closer, Father Felix was gradually invested with virtually every 
position of trust and major importance that required proximity to the 
abbot. The first of these assignments was ceremoniarius , which he 
assumed immediately upon his arrival in North Carolina. The rest of 
his life was given to the interests of Abbot Leo Haid. 

But just as Maryhelp's clerical monks were full of promise, its 
brothers were full of trouble. Brother Cornelius had a violent temper 
and terrorized the others. 131 It seemed Brother Adalbert, the baker, 
could not cook, 132 so Haid sought to send the man back to Saint 
Vincent. It was later discovered that Brother Adalbert was a fine 
baker, but his flour had been sabotaged, apparently by one of the 
other brothers. 133 Brother Altman was sickly, and Brother 
Bartholomew had rheumatism and wanted to go back to 
Pennsylvania. 134 Brother Amandus was more interested in being a 
boss than a gardener and stonemason. 135 Brother Bruno was bitter, 
and returned to Wimmer. 136 Then Haid received a negro candidate, 
Brother John, for the monastery. Brother Cornelius tried to lead a 
small revolt, claiming the abbot "preferred Niggers to Brothers." 137 
Finally Cornelius settled for an animated quarrel with Brother John, 
after which the black left for the sake of peace. 138 Cornelius was 
finally shipped back to the archabbey in Pennsylvania. 139 

Boniface Wimmer grew increasingly impatient with his protege in 
Carolina as the stream of requests to exchange brothers continued. 140 
Haid too was exasperated, but he could see no alternative to the 
appeals to the archabbot. The Carolina brothers were largely 
German-speaking men of humble origins, who resented English- 
speaking personnel. When a potential native vocation appeared, his 
perseverance became little more than an endurance test — one which 
the American invariably failed. Also, since few brothers wished to be 
stranded in North Carolina, there was no affinity for the 
monastery, 141 and thus no stability. 

Finally the abbot resolved "not to receive anyone here who does 
not wish to make [Maryhelp] his home." 142 And he asked Wimmer to 
supply him with enough manpower for a permanent staff. 

Please help me immediately ... \ want all German Brothers, Green Germans if 
you like. They agree better than when nationalities are mixed. I need three 
men for the farm and such labor. These I have. I need four in the kitchen; 
one in the refectory, one in the College. I have enough if you send me three 

for the two I will send you. Please don 't send anyone who does not wish to make 
this his home 143 

In another letter of specifications, Abbot Leo said no "growlers" 
were to be sent south. 144 He also suggested that Wimmer should cover 
the cost of transporting all these men between Pennsylvania and 
Carolina. 145 And finally he asked if the archabbot could send two 
middle-aged, German Catholic, male seculars who had no taste for 
beer, and who could work with both food and cows. 146 Boniface 
Wimmer was not pleased. 

BReak With WimmeR 

Abbot Leo was generally oblivious of Wimmer's annoyance. Even 
when the archabbot began picking petty quarrels, the abbot of 
Maryhelp insisted on taking invective as if it were paternal advice. 

An argument typical of their disagreements occured over Haid's 
sale of a thirty year old mule in order to acquire a horse for the 
missions, plowing, and O'ConnelPs buggy. Wimmer railed against 
Haid's imprudence. And in response Abbot Leo comforted the 
archabbot with the news that the horse was too lame to be fast, and 
thus was perfectly safe. 147 

Wimmer tired quickly from trying to please the abbot in the South. 
He even kept North Carolina's deeds in Pennsylvania, apparently as 
part of his pique. Haid pleaded for them to be sent, since without 
them he could not get insurance. 148 But the transferral of land from 
Saint Vincent to Maryhelp was not finalized until the summer of 
1886. 149 

Next Haid annoyed Wimmer by summoning Maryhelp's novices 
south before the completion of their novitiate. The response of Haid 
to this explosion by Abbot Boniface presented the same innocent 
appearance Abbot Leo had used in the mule controversy: Haid asked 
Zilliox to help him petition Rome for a separate novitiate, lest "the 
good Archabbot [who] does not like my doings" should be taxed 
again. 150 This time Abbot Boniface was even more infuriated than 

What Wimmer, a natural leader who enjoyed power from the 
beginning, seems never to have realized was that Leo Haid was 
unhappy and lonesome; he had only accepted North Carolina out of 
duty; and he dreaded the responsibility of the abbacy. "I have always 
had a dread of official life," he wrote to Father Prior Michael at Saint 
Vincent, "even though my Priests give me every reason to be 
grateful." 131 When a man is elected abbot, he later explained, "you 
just accept. The community has called you, and you must 
respond." 152 For that reason, he had accepted the burden of the 
abbatial office, but the loss of Wimmer's favor was a weight he had 
not expected and was not prepared to bear. "I feel lonesome," 153 he 
finally admitted after his first Christmas in Carolina. He begged 
Wimmer to pray for the Carolina monks and at least "think we are 
trying to do well." 154 But there were no words of encouragement or 
support in response. What was manifested as confusion and a lack of 
ease in the first days of Haid's reign finally developed into a seriously 
depressed state. 

In the spring of that already painful year, Haid went to Pittsburgh, 
gave his mother Viaticum, and watched her die. The death of his 
step-father came one week later. The young abbot's depression 
continued to grow. He wrote frequent letters and expressions of 
devotion to his old mentor during this period, but none elicited the 
desired response from Wimmer. Gradually, Abbot Leo modified his 
tone. From Rejoicing in the hope of seeing you soon," "with sincere 
affection," and "your son," the closings of his letters turned to sundry 
variations of "sincerely" and a more formal hue overall. 1 " 

Haid even toyed with the idea of resigning from office. And when 
Zilliox was relieved of the mitre, Abbot Leo admitted he wanted to 
congratulate the New Jersey prelate. "The idea of 'Liberty' must be 
most grateful to you," 156 he wrote. 

The abbot was finally roused from his depression, and forced to 
resign himself to the status of the Wimmer situation, by pressing 
matters in North Carolina. Maryhelp was growing. Students were 
enrolling; new monks were joining. More space was needed 
immediately. O'Connell had resisted Abbot Leo's first plans for brick 
buildings, but this time the old priest could not countermand the 
abbot's ambitions. A brick college was necessary and would be 
erected. And the building was to symbolize Leo Haid's slowly 
emerging confidence and ambition. Construction work was the 
activity he chose for raising his own spirits and commitment to 


In his first month at the abbey, Haid happened upon a brother 
about to fell a cedar near the front entrance of the chapel. 157 The 
abbot stopped the effort with the Latin command, "ere scat ," 
which means, "let it grow." The "ere scat tree," as it came to be 
known, then stood until 1960 when lightning finished what the 
brother had started. 

The image of the tree was impaled in 1885 on the abbot's and the 
abbey's first escutcheon, and "ereseat" was designated Maryhelp's 
motto. Although Abbot Leo was inconsistent in his heraldic devices, 
their use and application, he took the ereseat theme as a serious 
obligation, and became rather impassioned during his first fifteen 
years in the South about the necessity of having growth — witnessed 
in construction projects — in progress. 

Archabbot Boniface had ordered Abbot Leo to undertake no new 
buildings during his acclimation to abbatial life, and the younger man 

had informed Wimmer of his acquiescence in the directive. 138 In his 
first five months in Carolina, the new abbot spent merely six hundred 
fifty dollars on necessary minor improvements, and in January of 
1886, he proudly reported a balance of eleven hundred dollars in his 
favor. Finances looked good, he said, but there was something for 
which Maryhelp needed to use those surplus funds. 
And— presumably with some caution— he finally said it: "Room is 
what we must have and soon." 159 

Building O'ConnelTs cottage had whetted an appetite that would 
never be fully sated. Visions of rising buildings, invariably of brick 
with auburn coloring, ignited Leo Haid's sensibilities more than 
anything else outside of religion. And his first rationale for a building 
project was a masterful piece of evocative writing. It was intended to 
convince Wimmer that a new brick College Building should be 
erected, so the poor monks — shivering at that very moment in their 
pitiful frame "monastery" — could move into the current brick 
college. He wrote, 

The weather has been terribly cold for four or five days; I never experienced 
so much discomfort. The house is very good for summer — plenty of air, but 
for winter it is a total failure. We said our Matins in the refectory; the prime 
and hours in my room with overcoats— some wore gloves. All are pressing to 
build enough, so that we can use part at least of the old College for a 
monastery. I feel I must do something for them... 160 

Wimmer responded with a promise to send Brother Wolfgang 
Traxler, O.S.B., who was skilled in both architecture and 
construction supervision. But, the archabbot cautioned, no more 
should be built than Maryhelp could afford. 

Unfortunately, that idea was unappealing to Haid. "Your proposal 
to build as we have the money," he reasoned, "would keep us from 
getting money for want of room to take students." Accordingly, 
Abbot Leo proposed not only to borrow the money, but to have 
Wimmer arrange for the loan, secure the lowest possible interest rate, 
and put up the security. He was sure Maryhelp could at least meet 
the interest payments on a three year loan. And besides, "a little debt 
will also give me help in enforcing Poverty in my community." 161 

The Bohemian-born Traxler reached Carolina on 24 February. 
Brother Wolfgang was a vigorous man of thirty-one in 1886, twelve 
years professed, and more skilled than Pilz as a builder. Unlike Father 
Placidus' brick-based wing, Traxler's was to have a firm granite 
foundation. Within two days of the young man's arrival, Haid wrote 
Wimmer that lumber had been selected, windows, sashes, and 
plastering priced. They had decided to construct a building seventy- 

five feet in length. 162 

At the same time, Traxler laid out the full schema for all the 
central buildings at Maryhelp, even though only the one small 
section was to be erected at present. 163 The plan called for a squared, 
U-shaped building, at the center of which the church would 
eventually be placed, independently situated, and flanked 
symmetrically, though at some distance, by the north and south 
wings of the monastery-college building. The three angles of the 
monastery-college were each to be of a different interior design, 
though they would approximate one another in exterior appearance. 
The north wing (whose length would extend east-west, and front on 
the south) was to have no center corridors so that some rooms could 
have windows on both sides. This building would have only two 
stories, but would be situated on higher ground so that it might join 
the three-storey buildings, via a wing running north to south, 164 
without compromising symmetry. 

The east wing, which would be built south to north and would face 
west, was to be used exclusively as the monastery after the initial 
years. Its southern-most end would be the Pilz construction of 1880. 
The monastery would have three stories, plus a full attic level and 
basement. The single-loaded corridors of the Pilz design were to be 
continued through the planned three extensions of this building. 

From the beginning, the southern wing — which would be built in 
three stages, progressing east to west, and facing south toward 
Garibaldi — was to be the principal and most substantial part of the 
college's buildings. It was the only double-loaded structure in the 
original schema, and was designed to fill all the college's initial needs 
from the feeding of youth, to educating them, to bedding them at 

Though he briefly considered building one hundred twenty rather 
than seventy-five feet of the College Building, the abbot had to settle 
in this first effort for the smaller size. It was all they could hope to 
accomplish before the fall term of the college opened, and the space 
would be a necessity by then. A craftsman who promised to produce 
one hundred thousand bricks per month was brought onto the 
property to supervise the brothers' work. Haid estimated the cost of 
the one wing at five thousand dollars. 165 He wanted it to be ready for 
use in September. 166 

The laying of the cornerstone on 4 May, was the largest quasi- 
liturgical ceremony at which Abbot Leo had ever officiated. 
Wimmer, in Pennsylvania fuming over the cost and debt, would not 
attend, but Haid organized an impressive affair nonetheless. The 
McAdenville Times covered the event on page one under the 

headline, "Another Mark of Southern Progress." 167 

The cornerstone ceremony was a showcase for Abbot Leo as a 
public speaker. Taking for his theme 'Unless the Lord build the 
house, in vain do its builders labor," 16 * the abbot made none of the 
mistakes of his Charleston speech. Here Leo Haid was at his best, 
addressing his audience with conviction and in the slowly growing 
security of his prelacy. The focus of his remarks was the abbot's 
paedeutics, which he saw represented in this new building and 
manifested in the daily work of his college. He spoke of looking at the 
faces of his monks, and knowing this would "be God's 
asylum for the true religion of the All Holy God." 

He saw his students, and he recognized that this must be a house of 
education, where boys "will come in order to develop their minds as 
well as their body," where they would be "fitted for the world, and 
still more for the world to come." 

This is to be, God willing, a house of education. To educate young men and 
to expand the powers of their youthful soul, and to make that soul more like 
its God, and to make it more resemble the perfect type of its Creator, more 
and more by polishing it and by instilling in it on all occasions true 
Christian principle: This, then, is to be the work to which the house of 
which the cornerstone has just been laid, is to be dedicated. 

The monks themselves were to be a type of cornerstone, because 
"God shall find here, at least, a devoted body of men, who have 
dedicated themselves, soul and body, to that Great Father's service." 
And their prayers "shall spread God's blessing over this beautiful 
country in years to come, when perhaps few of you who are listening 
to me now shall be among the living." 

Finally the abbot prayed 

I give this building to God. It belongs to him. Take it then, O Heavenly 
Father, and protect it. And next to God I give this building to the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, the protectress of the Institution. Oh may she make it worthy 
of her glorious name. And then not to forget the holy Founder of our 
Order, I place it under the protection of the great Saint Benedict. Be this 
then our dedication: First to God above all, then to the Blessed Virgin His 
mother, and then to Saint Benedict our Holy Father. Amen. 

The reign of Leo Haid, after a weak beginning, had commenced in 
earnest. Its tone and ambition were finally discovered and 
pronounced. From this brick building, the first image of stability he 
had imposed on Maryhelp, the abbot began to draw the substance of 
his own confidence in the work that was now his for life. 

Work began that same day, as the brothers buried all but the top of 
the old slave stone, lest it detract from the new building. Brickmaking 

was in progress that afternoon, east of the construction site, and the 
sawmill was functioning northwest of the monastery and across the 
road. There was activity everywhere. The boys, who had been given 
a free-day in honor of the blessing, cancelled their planned baseball 
game in favor of carrying lumber, laying out the bricks to dry, and 
digging up the ground for the foundation. The abbot envisioned 
blessing the building precisely four months from that day. 

Before the end of May, however, the rains started, continuous 
rains. When new storm clouds appeared, monks would be awakened 
in the night to cover bricks that were drying. 169 The dampness was so 
severe that only one kiln stayed in operation. 170 In July the 
completion date was moved back to mid-September; nevertheless, 
spirits remained high. 171 In August the rains continued, and brick 
costs were rising at an alarming rate. 172 September was the same, and 
October, and November. In December, Haid wrote Zilliox that the 
building could not be finished for perhaps as long as six more weeks. 
Some rooms were completed, but a staff of as many as eighteen men, 
plastering for over seven weeks, had been unable to finish. The one 
spark for optimism was the addition, twenty-seven feet in length, 
appended to the frame chapel that year; it was ready in time for 
Christmas. 173 

Finally on the night of 5 January, the boys occupied the third floor 
dormitory of the new College Building for the first time. The 
temperature that night was sixteen degrees, and the students "did not 
like it over much," but at least they were there. The trunk room was 
also ready, as were the lavatories, the shoe room, and two classrooms. 
For the Study Halls, there was still a week to wait. 174 

The new brick building was a dramatic change from that first 
student dormitory that had been noted for its irregular roof through 
which students could see the stars at night. It had been a letter from a 
Richmond student to his parents, saying he lived in a "house that 
hasn't any roof, and if it comes a big rain we will all get to go 
swimming," 175 that got that dwelling fixed. But here the boys had a 
dormitory of seventy-five feet, well ventilated, and — despite the 
temperature — relatively comfortable. Haid was greatly relieved. 

The old college was converted into a monastery, though the monks 
did not move into it until 23 February of the next year. But more 
reasonable facilities were at least beyond the stage of fantasy. 

Despite the building being finished more than four months behind 
schedule — taking twice the anticipated time — Abbot Leo 
immediately began planning his next construction project. He had 
already completed the chapel expansion with a fifty percent increase 
in seating capacity and a larger sanctuary. A new belfry also 

appeared. The building was painted white with a brown border; it 
acquired green shutters and a red roof. Haid added a communion 
railing of black walnut, a blue ceiling with rosettes, and a new altar. 176 

The abbot was exhilarated by the construction efforts, and even 
though the College Building wing was completed, the bricks 
continued to be amassed. By September there were one hundred forty 
thousand on hand, and three hundred twenty-six thousand by mid- 
October. Haid asked if Brother Wolfgang could come again in 
January 1888 to build the center section of the monastery. 177 But 
soon the abbot was impatient and wanted Traxler as soon as possible. 
In Pennsylvania Brother Wolfgang was wasted, Haid reasoned, while 
in North Carolina with its more moderate climate the man could 
build even in winter. 178 

The brother was sent, but a major quarrel ensued between the two 
abbots as Haid's schedule stretched on seemingly without end. 
Finally, in January of 1 887, Wimmer demanded Traxler's return, and 
to achieve this end he wrote directly to Brother Wolfgang, without 
further consultation with Haid. The Garibaldi prelate did not think 
he could let the craftsman go — a water closet was in progress — but 
Haid promised to send Brother Wolfgang by 6 February, and told 
Wimmer to wire if that was not acceptable. 179 The archabbot wired 
immediately, and received in reply another report of delays. Traxler 
was not sent, and Haid even said he would require the brother's 
services again in the spring of 1888. 180 Wimmer fired off another 
order for the brother's return; this time Haid cheerfully reported he 
would accompany Brother Wolfgang himself — in mid- 
February — when traveling northward for the blessing of the new 
abbot of Saint Mary in New Jersey." 1 

The rest of the construction during this period was for the farm. 
The Christmas holidays of 1885 were used for the creation of a new 
hog pen of thirty by twenty-five feet, at a cost of only forty-eight 
dollars. 182 But the main project was the erection of a large barn. The 
brothers had been pressing for one since 1885, 183 but the structure did 
not appear until 1887. There were new stables, too, with a blue 
granite foundation. The stables measured fifty -five by ninety -five 
feet 184 ; the barn was eighty-five by fifty; 185 and the new wagon shed 
stood at sixty by twenty -two feet. 186 By Haid's report, Maryhelp had 
the largest farm facility in the county. As a special bonus for the 
abbot, the farm produced well in 1 887 — three crops of hay from each 
field, and a corn yield of four to five hundred bushels — so all the 
expenditures seemed worthwhile. 187 

Belmont township 

In the spring of 1886, Haid tried his diplomacy again. This time it 
was with the town fathers in Garibaldi. Abbot Leo wanted the name 
of the village changed, and since the place had not been incorporated, 
this was more a question of achieving a consensus than securing a 
legislative mandate. 188 

The abbot found the name "Garibaldi" objectionable because it 
conjured images of Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had not been noted for 
his cordial relations with the Holy See. Actually the town's name, 
referring to the former stationmaster, had nothing to do with the 
Italian nationalist. Indeed, there was some disagreement regarding 
whether the name was properly rendered "Garibaldi" or "Garabaldi"; 
the Benedictines were partial to the latter version, but were clearly in 
the minority. "Garibaldi" was never a popular name, however. The 
New York Sun, in a feature on the abbey, suggested that the name 
was "as unattractive as any other name found in the nomenclature of 
our frontier classics." 189 

The town's name was finally changed after Haid presumed to call a 
meeting of the business leaders of Garibaldi in the spring of 1886. He 
delivered on that occasion an impassioned speech regarding the need 
of a city to have a name of dignity and distinction. 190 Perhaps 
gambling a bit, or maybe offering a ludicrous demand so that his 
second — and real — effort would be thought a compromise, the abbot 
recommended that the town be renamed "Saint Mary's." 191 None of 
the Protestant denizens seemed particularly enthusiastic about that 
suggestion. So Haid, reasoning from the village's pride in its 
picturesque location in the foothills of the mountains, suggested 
"Belmont." He explained the Latin derivation and meaning; the town 
fathers voiced their approval; and "Garibaldi" became "Belmont." 
Nine years later, in 1895, the change was codified when the village 
was incorporated. 

There was nothing extraordinary in the change of name. And 
"Belmont" itself was pleasant enough, if perhaps undistinguished. 
Certainly neither Haid nor the town fathers anticipated the interest 
that surfaced twenty-six years later regarding the change of name. 
Abbot Leo was at least partly responsible for the misunderstandings 
of 1912, and his reluctance to clarify the misconceptions permitted 
them to continue into the decades that followed, even to the point of 
official recognition. 

Of the several supposed rationales that later surfaced regarding 
Belmont's new name, the one that arose last chronologically is the 
easiest to refute. This theory suggested that the town's name honored 

Belmont Abbey in England. 192 This version has no foundation in fact 
or motivation, since in 1886 the Benedictine monastery of Saint 
Michael at Belmont in England did not enjoy the rank of an abbey. 
And Leo Haid was hardly likely to name his home for an institution 
of inferior rank. There is also the attendant fact that Abbot Leo was 
no Anglophile, and bore no particular love for anything related to the 
country he considered a mere pause on the way to the continent. 

The two principal fables regarding "Belmont" are more complex, 
however. In these editions, the town was named for either August or 
Perry Belmont. These are the stories, particularly the latter, that 
aroused the interest of the press and the Belmont family in 1912. 

The August Belmont (1816-1890) in question was the Rothschild- 
trained financier who made his personal fortune after coming to 
America. The story does not refer, as has occasionally been 
suggested, to his son August (1842-1924). Belmont, supposedly of 
Jewish origins, was an Episcopalian of enormous wealth. He was also 
chairman of the Democratic Party (1861-1872), and did diplomatic 

Perry Belmont (1851-1947), August's eldest son, was also a 
staunch, wealthy Democrat, and a member of the diplomatic corps. 
He spent eight years in the lower house of Congress, as the 
Representative from New York's first Congressional district. His 
brief period of service in Washington included 1886, when 
"Belmont" was taken as the North Carolina town's prenomen. 

The state of North Carolina recognizes August as the inspiration 
for the town's name. The elder Belmont supposedly was a benefactor 
of the abbey's. 193 But there is no evidence to suggest either that he 
ever assisted the monks financially or even knew of the monastery's 
existence. Furthermore, Gaston County, North Carolina, had not by 
the 1880's forgotten August Belmont's vocal role in defending the 
Union against the South, nor his work in 1860 on behalf of the 
Baltimore Convention over the Charleston Democratic meeting. It 
cannot be presumed that Garibaldi's citizenry would have embraced 
this Belmont quite so readily. 

In 1886, Perry, though still young, had already made a name for 
himself in Democratic politics. And Haid, like Wimmer, was very 
proud of his allegiance with the Democratic Party. The junior 
Belmont had risen quickly during his brief time in Congress to the 
chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. And he had 
earned fame and repute through his interest in the government's 
South American policy, and in particular through his name-calling 
exchange with the Secretary of State, Mr. Blaine, on 4 May 1882, 
during a committee hearing. At the time of the name change in North 

Carolina, Belmont's press coverage was featuring his opinions 
regarding the Congo Conference. 

There is, however, no evidence that Haid was particularly 
interested in either South America or the Congo. Furthermore, 
neither August's nor Perry's name surfaces in Haid's papers until 
1912, more than a quarter century after the change. Perhaps 
memories of August's prominence or newspaper coverage of Perry 
brought "Belmont" to mind as a possible name. But there appears to 
be no reference from the 1880's to even infer that honoring either of 
these gentlemen was considered when the abbot suggested "Belmont" 
for the town's new name. 

The confusion seems to stem, at least in part, from Haid's always 
casual use of two key words. One is namesake. Haid used the word 
commonly, and discussion of any two persons, places, or things with 
remotely similar nomenclature was likely to have the younger party 
labeled a "namesake." He liked the word, and used it frequently and 
imprecisely. The other word is founder. Firstly it is as ridiculous to call 
either Belmont the "founder," as it is to suggest that Leo Haid would 
name a town, a monastery, or a college after a Protestant — especially 
one who was not a donor. Haid had no inclination toward 
ecumenism whatsoever. And as for "founders" of Maryhelp, 
Haid — according to convenience and circumstance — called Wimmer, 
Gibbons, O'Connell, and Saint Benedict by that title. Actually, 
however, he considered only himself to be the founder, and in 
substantiation of that concept he had the silver jubilee of the 
institution commemorated with reference to his own advent — as if 
1876 through 1884 had never transpired. 

The confusion with Perry Belmont got out of control — and Haid 
encouraged the situation — when Bird S. Coler, comptroller of the 
City of New York, and a friend of the abbot's, was seated next to the 
Honorable Mr. Belmont at a dinner at the Sulzers' residence, on 
Saturday, 21 December 1912. During the meal, Mr. Coler— who had 
previously discussed with Abbot Leo the interesting happenstance of 
the name — introduced the former Congressman to the existence in 
North Carolina of Belmont Abbey/college/township. The 
Comptroller subsequently asked the abbot to write Belmont, who it 
was thought might be open to a publicity-motivated visit to his 
supposed namesake." 4 

Haid then wrote Coler a carefully worded letter that was designed 
to be shared with Belmont. 

I am glad you saw Mr. Perry Belmont, and spoke to him of his namesake in 
North Carolina... When we came in July, 1885, Belmont station, a poor 

little place with some forty-five inhabitants, was dubbed "Garibaldi." I did 
not like that name and after some trouble, succeeded in changing it to 
"Belmont." I was a good Democrat..." 5 

To anyone familiar with the Haid style, it is obvious that the abbot 
carefully refrains from stating that the place was named for the 
Congressman. But that is, of course, precisely the inference Belmont 
drew, and so much publicity attended the mistaken conclusion, that 
the story slowly began to acquire credence. 

By the time of Perry Belmont's memoirs, 196 it was the abbey itself 
that was supposedly named for the Protestant Congressman. An 
illustration representing the monastery was one of only twenty-eight 
pieces he chose to include in the seven hundred page opus, and the 
abbot of Belmont was given an autographed first edition after 
publication. Belmont Abbey /college/township was, the distinguished 
gentleman said, "the greatest honor that has ever come to me." 197 He 
was even flattered that he was not told in 1886 about the village's 
new name. 

In 1928, Mr. Belmont went a step further and announced to the 
press that he intended to leave his library to the abbey, in honor of 
the college's golden jubilee. 198 Vincent Taylor, Haid's successor as 
abbot, had invited Perry Belmont to attend the anniversary 
festivities. He tried to entice the former Congressman with further 
revelations about "Belmont," saying, "I have often heard my 
predecessor... say that he named the place and the school after you." 199 
Neither man apparently remembered that the school did not become 
"Belmont Abbey College" until 1913. 

Mr. Belmont sent Taylor his regrets, then announced the proposed 
donation of the library. That announcement caught the eye of Agnes 
G. Regan of the National Council of Catholic Women, who placed 
discreet inquiries into the veracity of this unlikely tale regarding a 
Catholic college and monastery named for a Protestant politician in 
1 886. 200 Taylor proved unavailable for comment, but he delegated the 
abbey's historian, Father Thomas Oestreich, O.S.B., to respond in his 
name. This was written just one month after Taylor's letter to 

Abbot Taylor regrets that he has no information to give you concerning the 
naming of the town of Belmont, North Carolina. The town had received its 
name long before he came here as a student, and since his ordination he has 
been away for more than twenty years. He has heard of course the report 
current that the town was named after Mr. Perry Belmont, and has from 
time to time seen press reports to that effect, but he has never heard the 
subject discussed by Bishop Haid. The patron of the Abbey (called 
commonly Belmont Abbey for its location at Belmont) is the Blessed 

Mother of Perpetual Help; its official title: Abbatia Nullius Sanctae Mariae 
Auxiliatricis. 201 

R6QAR6 fOR hai6 

After two years of abbatial reign, Leo Haid was showing signs of 
potential for mature leadership and an unexpected gift for personal 
popularity. Father Mark Gross, the Vicariate priest whose brother 
had been bishop of Savannah, found the abbot "a very gifted man, so 
sensible and solidly good." 202 Gross closely followed Abbot Leo's 
speaking engagements, his missions and retreats, and reported them 
favorably to his friends in the American hierarchy. "The more I see of 
Father Abbot," he wrote Gibbons, "the better I like him and [the] 
Community." Gross even requested and received permission from the 
Holy See to apply for admission to the Benedictine Order, 203 though 
Haid never received the priest. 

The growing respect for Abbot Leo opened a variety of new 
projects to the Benedictines. They accepted charge of Saint Vincent's 
parish commitment in Florida. Haid agreed in principle to Gross' 
never-to-be-actualized proposal for a grand "Apostolic College" and 
seminary at Belmont, where young men could be "safely down in the 
country and be removed from the intercourse of those who [would be 
disedifying]." 204 In July of 1886, Pio Nono College, a work of the 
secular clergy in Macon, Georgia, was offered but declined. 205 

There was also a growing reputation on behalf of the abbot 
regarding sacred oratory. The New York Sun described Haid as 

deservedly esteemed one of the foremost pulpit orators in America. 
Unconscious of self, his every sermon is an entire tract— embracing all the 
important truths bearing on the subject. Its leading features are 
distinctively traced in a rich, sonorous voice, and relieved by appropriate 
ornament. None tires of listening to him. 206 

Indeed, there was so much publicity for Maryhelp and its abbot, 
that Haid had to write Zilliox in New Jersey, assuring him "it is not 
my fault that our little Abbey appears in print— so much." 207 

Actually, most of the early criticisms of Abbot Leo, at least the 
ones of which there is still a record, came from the Benedictines 
themselves, especially from some monks at Saint Vincent. In 
particular, Carolina's frequent changes of personnel were seen as 
evidence of trouble. Wimmer and others who would "cruelly pick at 
my little Monastery" caused the young abbot much pain, and added 
to his early insecurity. At one point, Abbot Leo even cancelled a 

planned journey to the archabbey. "I was going North," he explained 
to Father Chrysostom at Saint Vincent, "but now I find no necessity 
for such a long trip — one, too, which would mingle pain with 
pleasure. I am a little-well pained at some things which were said and 
done. Still," he concluded, "they are of the past— and there let them 
rest." 208 

There was, however, some consolation for the young abbot — his 
monks. The priests and clerics were a special comfort for him, even 
while his mentor, Wimmer, seemed to be abandoning the southern 
prelate. In March of 1886, Haid could still proudly report, "Up to 
date not one has missed choir here. All are used to getting up;. one 
wishes to be excused or [to] shove the burden on others." 209 

Consolations like that were the reason that even in the midst of so 
many problems, Haid could meet his responsibilities, build his abbey 
and college, and edify onlookers with the progress he sponsored. 
These were years when Leo Haid could be at his best. He could stay 
at his monastery, set an example; he could enkindle spirit and 
enthusiasm, and develop the special gifts that made him an effective 
monastic leader. He grew more confident; he was more respected; he 
was happier. He wrote Edelbrock, 'Indeed, I am most fortunate." 210 
Still, the abbot of Belmont never did understand the movements 
around him. When soon afterwards, his duties began keeping him 
away from the monastery, when increasing numbers of his men were 
assigned outside the cloister, he was never able to grasp why that 
changed the spirit of Belmont. If a monk were disobedient, it was 
mystifying to him, as incomprehensible as when he had fallen from 
Wimmer's favor. Leo Haid never realized the personal loyalty he 
inspired — or perhaps more importantly, that the loyalty he inspired 
was personal. Even when the monastery's membership had increased 
by two-thirds in 1885, solely on the strength of his election as abbot, 
his appeal had not registered in his own mind. And Abbot Leo had no 
way of knowing in 1887, that this was the last year of his life in which 
he could be at peace in his North Carolina monastery, teaching 
through his ever-present example. 

ChapteR IV: 

A Second Jurisdiction 

Catholic development in the Carolinas had not been marked by 
success during the previous two thirds of a century. In Haid's time no 
state had a smaller percentage of Catholics than North Carolina. 
Conditions were still so primitive that no diocese had been erected. 
From 1820 until 1868 the North State had been part of the 
Charleston diocese. But on 3 March 1868, Pius IX separated the 
forty-nine thousand four hundred twelve square miles of North 
Carolina from Charleston, forming a separate and independent 
jurisdiction of subdiocesan rank. James Gibbons, then a priest of 
Baltimore, was consecrated bishop that August, and assigned to 
Wilmington, North Carolina — then the largest city in the state, and 
the See of the recently created territory. Gibbons was installed in the 
Pro-Cathedral of Saint Thomas on 1 November 1868. 

Finding only approximately seven hundred Catholics scattered 
throughout the state, and with no more than a half dozen priests, 
Rome had declined to erect a North Carolina diocese, creating 
instead a Vicariate Apostolic. This was a level of governance 
preparatory to diocesan status. An ordained bishop was its head, or 
"Ordinary", with the title Vicar Apostolic. Once the church was 
sufficiently developed in the territory, a diocese could be established. 


After only four years, Gibbons was Ordinary to eight priests and 
fourteen hundred Catholics. There was a need for more priests, more 
churches. But there were no funds to support even what already 
existed. The bishop had insufficient income to cover his own 
expenses, and no hope whatsoever for educating and luring new 
priests. Accordingly, the Holy See decided to again unite North 
Carolina with another jurisdiction. This time, in 1872, Gibbons was 
promoted to the Diocese of Richmond. The vicariate continued to 
exist, but Gibbons ruled it from the Cathedral in Virginia — a 
wealthier and more secure sphere of authority. 1 Lawrence O'Connell, 
Jeremiah's brother, served as Gibbons' Carolina Vicar General. 

When in 1877, James Gibbons was promoted to the archiepiscopal 
See of Baltimore, John J. Keane succeeded him in Richmond; his 
appointment as Vicar Apostolic came on 25 August 1878. Three 
years later Rome again sought to separate the vicariate from its 
diocesan companion, 2 but finding a new vicar proved an 
unanticipated hardship. 

The terna— the list of nominees for bishoprics that Church 
provinces submitted for their vacancies— as originally drafted in 1878 
after Keane's episcopal consecration, nominated, in order of 
preference, Mark Stanislaus Gross, Henry Pinkney Northrop, and 
Francis Janssens. 3 Gross had experience in the vicariate, the respect 
of both the clergy and laity, proven administrative ability, and even a 
reputation for sanctity. Then too, he was not hurt by his warm 
friendship with Gibbons or the status of his brother, William, who 
was already a member of the hierarchy. He was clearly the most 
appropriate of the candidates, and the Holy See responded with his 
appointment as Vicar Apostolic in September of 1879. Gross humbly 
accepted the office as a recognition of Gibbons' affection, rather than 
of his own worthiness. 4 The 1880 Catholic Directory went to press 
listing Gross as Vicar Apostolic, hypothesizing his consecration date 
as merely "1879" and leaving a blank for the name of his titular See. 5 
But Mark Gross was never ordained a bishop. He returned the letter 
of nomination; 6 Cardinal Simeoni in Rome reluctantly permitted the 
renunciation, 7 and Bishop Keane found himself still holding the 
unwelcome reins of the Vicariate Apostolic. 8 

The office finally went to Father Henry Northrop. On 8 January 
1882, he was consecrated Titular Bishop of Rosalia and Vicar 
Apostolic of North Carolina. Northrop, like his predecessors, was 
reluctant to accept the post, and abandoned his objections in a mood 
fraught with "doubt and anxiety." 9 Bishop Northrop tried, but he 
never found even the minimal support a North Carolina bishop 
required; there was no way to cover his expenses, transportation, or 

to solidify Catholic observance in the state with the resources at 
hand. Accordingly, just one year later, on 27 January 1883, 
Northrop was promoted to the bishopric of Charleston, while 
retaining the vicariate. Once again North Carolina had no resident 
bishop and little prospect for Catholic growth. 

Northrop was a gentle man of cultivated tastes, who was never at 
ease among the rough conditions of missionary labor in the North 
State. Nevertheless, he did succeed in luring more clergy into North 
Carolina, and he more than doubled those figures when he saw 
Maryhelp erected as an abbey, and thus as a permanent settlement. 
By 1887, the Vicariate Apostolic had approximately fourteen priests 
and about twenty-six hundred Roman Catholics. But the vicar 
wanted out; he longed to concentrate on the more prestigious See of 
Charleston. And Northrop, Gibbons, and the Gross brothers each 
suggested Leo Haid for the office of Vicar Apostolic of North 

Actually the rumors of the abbot's promotion to the episcopate 
pre-dated Northrop's decision to endorse a replacement. The first 
recorded mention of Haid as a future Vicar Apostolic is in a letter 
from Edwin Pierron dated 16 July 1885, just two days after the 
abbatial election. 10 And it was not pure speculation either, even then. 
There were strong arguments in support of his nomination at that 
time, and even more by 1887. 

These were the most significant and persuasive points: 

1 . A Benedictine bishop could more readily summon the monks 
into missionary work. 

2. The abbot's apppointment should terminate the movement 
toward a reduced Benedictine involvement in parochial ministry. 

3. The monastery could be expected to provide lodging and 
reasonable support for the vicar. 

4. Haid was young, vigorous, a proven administrator and builder, 
the leader of Catholic education in the state, a good speaker, zealous. 

5 . Because of his ties to both monastery and vicariate, he was less 
likely to try to abandon the post, as had each of the previous vicars. 

6. His wide contacts both through the several monasteries and in 
particular through his seminary work at Saint Vincent could help 
secure vocations. 

7. Saint Mary's College could provide seminary training for 
vicariate clerics. 

Haid seemed to offer exactly what North Carolina needed: stable, 
promising, vigorous leadership with no problem regarding the 
bishop's income. Accordingly, Archbishop Gibbons, as Metropolitan 
of the ecclesiastical province that included North Carolina, wasted no 

time in summoning his suffragans to Baltimore to prepare a tenia for 
North Carolina. On 11 May 1886, they determined to submit a 
petition in which they unanimously endorsed Leo Haid for the 
vicariate. 11 His appointment seemed both logical and assured. 

In theory at least, the terna was not a public document. 
Nominations for the episcopate were considered confidentially 
submitted and were not openly discussed. Father Gross, however, 
learned of the provincial petition and immediately began devising a 
scheme for Haid's evangelization of North Carolina. It was an 
elaborate plan, created without consulting Abbot Leo. Though 
soundly rooted in Benedictine missionary procedure, it sadly 
presupposed an abundance of monastic and priestly vocations that 
never appeared. Father Gross wrote Gibbons, 

Our Abbey can be made the nursery of numerous Priories put down in the 
most unsettled and uncatholic precincts. At once the Priory is independent 
with its farm and brotherhood, and the Fathers require little to support 
them. In such priories everything is found, a permanent centre of religion, 
the home of religious intercessors for the missioner and the school for the 
children. Every Priory becomes an ever widening centre of religion and 
enlightenment. It is a fixture. Imagine several of such Priories— of two or 
three priests— located over the vast territory of North Carolina and the 
good resulting from them. ...You can become a second Gregory in some 
sense, in the Province. 12 

These grandiose dreams, flattering as they were both to himself 
and the Order, did not impress Haid, and he tried to ignore the 
rumors of his nomination, even withholding the news from Wimmer. 
He also ignored the rumor that he had been nominated as Gross' 
replacement in Savannah. 

Rome too declined to entertain Haid's episcopal nomination 
seriously. The Propaganda promptly returned the province's petition, 
and reminded Gibbons that a terna, by definition, consisted of three 
nominations. One name was insufficient. 13 So James Gibbons, who 
by this time was a Cardinal-elect, consulted his suffragans again, and 
submitted two additional names, Fathers John Murray and Peter 
Moore. 14 The list complete, Gibbons settled down to await action by 
the Holy See. 

Leo Haid, however, did not wait peacefully. Assaulted by 
conscience and afraid that the episcopacy would undermine his 
monastic vision and responsibility, the abbot made some vocational 
decisions of his own. Unable to act directly, however, since he did not 
know officially that his name had been submitted, Abbot Leo began 
quietly to spread the word that he was unwilling to abandon his 

To Zilliox he wrote, 

As to becoming Vicar Apostolic — I came South as an Abbot, and such I 
will remain, God willing. Others have been Vicars Apostolic before me, and 
were glad to get away— because they could not live as bishops. Why should 
I desert my host, leave those who chose me and the life of a Monk, to take a 
post which abler and better men were glad to forsake? One thing is certain: 
unless I am obliged, I will not resign my Abbey — even to become Bishop of 
Savannah. You may tell Bishop Becker the last testament, if he wishes to be 
set right. Excuse my plain talk; I am speaking to you. 15 

If Haid was intent on retaining his abbacy, there were only two 
options. Either his episcopal nomination had to be withdrawn — in 
order to prevent another embarrassing refusal like Gross' — or Rome 
would have to be petitioned to allow simultaneous jurisdiction over 
both the monastery and vicariate. This last proposal was not easily 
arranged. The pressure a double mitre would place on the abbot, 
however, to send his monks to the missions and thus provide North 
Carolina with a stable clergy seemed to justify the effort. And 
Gibbons, convinced that Leo Haid was the man to secure 
Catholicism in North Carolina, began to arrange the permission the 
abbot required. It may also have occurred to both Rome and the 
archbishop, that once he perceived how impractical it was to govern 
both entities at once, Leo Haid would choose the greater office, and 
resign his monastery. 

In January 1887, the Propaganda began inquiring into the abbot's 
worthiness for the episcopal dignity. The long delay was due in part 
to the desire to first consider other assignments in the province. 
Wilmington, Delaware, and Savannah, Georgia both had new 
Ordinaries named late in 1886. Bishop Keane of Richmond was 
awaiting his transfer to the rector's office at the new Catholic 
University of America. The jurisdiction of North Carolina was to be 
separated from Charleston's Ordinary. With so many changes in the 
offing, Haid's nomination— especially since it came, as had his 
abbatial election, only after the first choice had demurred — was not a 
high priority. 16 

One of those consulted about Abbot Leo's proposed episcopate 
was Archabbot Boniface. The two abbots were not on the best of 
terms at this time, and Wimmer was caught between conflicting 
desires, wanting for the Order the honor of an additional Benedictine 
bishop, and yet finding himself ambivalent about the monk who was 
nominated. The archabbot was also incensed that he had to hear of 
Abbot Leo's proposed elevation from Rome instead of from the 
nominee. Wimmer, however, blaming Cardinal Gibbons for the 
whole affair, fired off his response without delay. The evaluation of 

Haid was favorable, but the patriarch of Saint Vincent made clear his 
belief that the man should not hold both jurisdictions, monastery and 
vicariate, at once. 17 Imprudently, but in character, the archabbot 
allowed his reservations about Haid's episcopacy to become general 

Abbot Leo wrote Wimmer immediately after hearing of the 
archabbatial displeasure. The Belmont abbot tried to explain why he 
had not told Wimmer of the rumors and of his reluctance to take the 
office anyway. "One mitre has thorns enough," he wrote, "two would 
be too much." 

I told Bishop Keane I would never leave my monastery to become 
Bishop— also that I thought it better if I could remain where I am and what 
I am — For this reason I never thought it worthwhile to write to you about 
the matter. It was known here for some time, but I believe the Fathers 
would not like their Abbot to become Bishop, for then I would be obliged to 
be away a great deal; I have to teach daily and so many other things 
demand my care. I am afraid I could not do one half what the Bishops 
expect. There are but few Priests (secular) almost no Catholic Schools, and 
only a few Catholics. Our students increase in number faster than 
Professions and lay brothers— Well, if you had given me a [poor 
recommendation] it might have saved me much trouble." 

Mark Gross, whose acceptance of the episcopate in 1879 could 
have averted this whole problem, heard of the archabbot's reluctance 
to endorse Haid's elevation, and wrote Wimmer a lengthy letter. The 
dual jurisdiction would "give greater dignity, channels, and stability" 
to the abbey, he reasoned. Also, the double dignity of having an 
abbot-bishop as the college's president would enhance the school's 
future. On a more immediate level, the priest cautioned Abbot 
Boniface against writing "to Rome to discourage [Haid's] 
appointment and to run counter thus to the wishes and ardent desire 
of his Eminence and many of the bishops... I know you will leave his 
appointment to the wisdom of his Eminence, the Cardinal, and the 
Council of the Province." 19 

While so many others were debating his future, Leo Haid remained 
quiet. Although he seems not to have feared the episcopacy as much 
as he had the abbacy two years earlier, he would do nothing to 
promote his nomination. Yet since Wimmer had decided not to fight 
the appointment, and Gibbons had enthusiastically endorsed the 
proposal of the double mitre, the promotion began to appear 
inevitable. Abbot Leo's only glimmer of hope was found in the 
extended time between his nomination by the American bishops and 
its endorsement by Rome. The silence held promise; "yet I do not 
know that the 'idea' is dead," he lamented. In May he survived the 

false rumor that Gibbons had received the decrees for the abbot's 
elevation. 20 In October he was happy to hear the rumor, also false, 
that Abbot Alexius would be made a bishop 21 — two American 
Benedictines would not be promoted at once, it seemed safe to 

But the inevitable finally happened on 7 December, when the Holy 
Father confirmed the appointment of Leo Michael Haid as Vicar 
Apostolic of North Carolina. The news was cabled to the abbot in 
Carolina, announcing his episcopal appointment and the retention of 
his abbacy. Not wishing to offend the archabbot again, Abbot Leo 
wrote Wimmer without delay. But the missive crossed with a black- 
bordered telegram on its way from Saint Vincent. Boniface Wimmer, 
patriarch of American Benedictine monasticism, had died at ten 
o'clock, on the morning of 8 December, unaware that another of his 
sons had been promoted to the episcopal dignity. 22 

The potential for conflict in the reign of a single man as both abbot 
and bishop was quick in revealing itself. The bishop-elect received in 
early April his Papal Briefs naming him Vicar Apostolic, and 
mandating his episcopal consecration for the titular See of Messene in 
Greece. Church law required that Abbot Leo be ordained a bishop 
within three months, so the ceremony was scheduled for 8 July 
1888. 23 The date was announced, then Abbot Alexius reminded Haid 
that as an abbot he would need to be in Pennsylvania for the General 
Chapter on 8 July. Furthermore, it was especially important that the 
bishop-elect be present since Andrew Hintenach, who had been 
elected the new abbot of Saint Vincent, was to receive the abbatial 
blessing at that time. Abbot Leo begged Edelbrock to shift the 
Chapter and Blessing dates to precede the eighth, so that all the 
abbots would then be free to go to Baltimore after the Chapter to 
attend the consecration. Gibbons did not want to change Haid's date, 
since both it and a dual installation — one in the East at the Pro- 
Cathedral in Wilmington, then at the Abbey in the West — were 
already scheduled. 24 

Haid and Gibbons then belatedly realized that the eighth was too 
late for the consecration anyway, falling just outside the three month 
time limit. So they changed their ceremony to 1 July, leaving the 
installations as originally scheduled. This left Haid free to attend the 
Benedictine ceremonies between his two episcopal services. 25 The 
bishop-elect promptly wrote Abbot Alexius of the change, claiming 
as its motivation a fear of crowding the Benedictine celebration. 26 

Edelbrock, however, had already rescheduled the monks' activities 
to accommodate Abbot Leo's 8 July consecration. Gibbons declined 
to change his schedule again, so Leo Haid wrote Abbot Alexius that 

the abbot of Belmont would be unable to attend the General 
Chapter. 27 Assured that the Cardinal would not again change dates, 
Edelbrock and Hintenach conferred, and finally arranged a schedule 
that satisfied all the concerned parties. 28 Just scheduling the new 
abbot-bishop's elevation to the episcopacy had caused the 
Benedictines five weeks of problems and delays. It did not augur well 
for the future. 

Once again Haid chose an epistolary format for his invitations. But 
this time, with Archabbot Boniface deceased, the special letter went 
to Alexius Edelbrock in Minnesota. 29 The tone of the official 
invitation was somewhat more formal this time, but the sense of the 
personal was not totally lost. 30 To heighten Benedictine involvement, 
Father Edward Hipelius, O.S.B., Saint Vincent's first monk to earn a 
Roman doctorate in theology, was invited to be the prefect of 
ceremonies; 31 he consented, but later reneged on the commitment. 32 
The Benedictines did arrange to function as the choir, however. 

The bishop-elect made his pre-consecration retreat at his abbey, 
not going to Baltimore until Friday, 29 June. 33 Father Willibald 
joined him on the train in Richmond and served as his chaplain. 
Mark Gross also went to Baltimore; he was the official representative 
of the secular clergy of the vicariate. Bishops Becker and Northrop 
were to assist the Cardinal; acting as co-consecrators, but the bishop 
of Charleston had to withdraw from the ceremony, and Bishop John 
Joseph Kain of Wheeling took his place. Archabbot-elect Andrew 
Hintenach attended, as did Abbots Alexius (Saint John), Hilary (Saint 
Mary), Fintan (Saint Meinrad), and Frowin (Conception). Bishop 
Rupert Seidenbusch, O.S.B., was there, accompanied by Bishops 
Rademacher (Nashville), Moore (Saint Augustine), and Curtis 
(Wilmington). Bishop Keane was the homilist. 

The ceremony began on Sunday morning, 1 July at half past ten 
o'clock forenoon. 34 Thurifer, crucifer, and an army of forty altar boys 
in scarlet cassocks led the procession. They entered the 
church — filled with people, many of whom stood through the entire 
Mass — followed by monks, clergy, bishops, and finally the Cardinal, 
with his train held aloft by acolytes. The ceremony went smoothly 
and without complication, and the principals recessed out of the 
Cathedral of the Assumption a mere four hours later. 

The Baltimore Sun described the bishop-elect as a "slender man of 
good figure and decided brunette type, having dark hair, full beard 
and dark complexion." 33 Actually the new bishop was not ordinarily 
particularly dark, but his work in the fields had left him tanned. The 
manual labor had also lent a certain confidence to his intention to be 
an abbot-bishop and not a bishop-abbot. And he was determined that 

his commitment to avoid an imbalance between the priorities of his 
jurisdictions would be achieved. 

On 5 July, Archabbot Andrew was blessed at Saint Vincent, with 
Bishop Haid proudly present; then the General Chapter met from the 
sixth through the eighth. Abbot Leo attended all of these functions, 
but left immediately after their conclusion to join the Cardinal and 
Bishop-elect Foley of Detroit for the trip to Carolina, where the Vicar 
Apostolic was to be installed in his Pro-Cathedral on Sunday, 15 July, 
his thirty-ninth birthday. 

Arriving in Wilmington on the evening of 12 July, the prelates 
were met by a large crowd organized by the Young Catholic Friends 
Society. Carriages awaited the bishops, and carried them to the home 
of Colonel F.W. Kerchner where a reception was planned. The 
Cornet Concert Club led the procession and entertained at the 
reception. The next two days were given to recreation, including a 
trip to Wrightsville Sound. On Sunday, the installation took place in 
the Pro-Cathedral of Saint Thomas at half past nine o'clock. On the 
sixteenth, Gibbons took his entourage to Carolina Beach for more 
relaxation. They then journeyed to the abbey. From Belmont, 
Gibbons went to Charlotte for a day, then to Asheville. Haid's 
installation — which incidentally marked the first visit by Gibbons to 
North Carolina since being created a Cardinal — occasioned "the 
largest number of Catholic clergymen ever assembled in North 
Carolina." 36 It was also the busiest month of Leo Haid's life, a portent 
of the character that would attend him henceforth. 

episcopal Residence 

At home in Belmont, the new Vicar Apostolic was in need of rest. 
He found instead a minor revolt in the making. The tumult had 
begun stirring when the episcopal appointment was first announced, 
but not until the bishop returned home did the conflict and its 
conspirators break fully into the open. 

At the core of the discontent was the suspicion that the monks had 
been abandoned by their superior. Abbot Leo had turned the full 
weight of his eloquence during the previous three years on the 
precedence of monastic duties over missionary commitments. Now 
that same abbot had accepted charge of a tremendous missionary 
territory, knowing that the only concentrated supply of priests at his 
disposal was the Benedictines. The monks had adjusted their thinking 
from the Wimmer mode; they had trusted and followed their abbot, 
only to be committed, it seemed, to parish work after all. The 

imbalance between monastic vows and clerical demands, the plague 
of American Benedictinism since 1846, raised its head anew. And to 
the idealistic younger fathers at Belmont, what seemed most obvious 
was that the abbot had a conflict of interest, in which his monks 
would be the ones to suffer. 

The leader of this monastic unrest was Father Walter Leahy, 
O.S.B., whose edifying forthrightness and determination had turned 
into a contentiousness that was not incapable of malevolence. Father 
Walter, one of Belmont's founding monks, had been a wholehearted 
supporter of Haid's monastic vision. He had already been somewhat 
disillusioned when assigned to a year in the most arduous of the 
monks' missionary circuits. 37 Then when the abbot accepted the 
office of bishop, Leahy could only imagine further disappointment, 
and began inciting the brethren to oppose any effort by Abbot Leo to 
further clericalize the monks of Belmont. 

Leahy's concerns, rooted in what he perceived as the abbot's 
betrayal of the abbey's special theme, did not lack foundation. The 
expectation that an abbot-bishop would be more prone toward 
committing his monks to work outside the cloister than would a 
simple abbot was logical and soon to be substantiated. What the 
young priest did not seem to consider, however, was the damaging 
effect of such invective on the observance of the house. A monastery, 
by its nature, functioned as a closed community that both profited 
and suffered from its routine. Its sense of sameness was not easily 
changed, either for improvement or otherwise, without a certain 
rather wrenching realignment. Because of the intimate proximity of 
the inmates to one another, their common substructure, work, and 
goals, change could not occur in isolation. One factor necessarily 
affected a score of others, and a person who whether from motives 
good or bad disrupted one facet of the house, would probably also 
have an impact on the monastery as a whole. The format of cloistered 
existence had a natural influence within its own parameters that 
disproportionately magnified problems, while virtues or general 
happiness — associated as they were with the routine — enjoyed no 
enhanced status and thus could be handily overshadowed. 

In 1888, the Belmont monastery was still small; customs were not 
yet clearly established; this magnified Leahy's impact. The tone of the 
house seemed drawn legitimately into question by the abbot's new 
duties, and Walter Leahy was able to arouse an incredible and 
provocative impulse. The moral authority of the abbot within his 
monastery— that is, the values he had come to represent— was being 
undermined. And the undeniable undercurrent of the conflict was 
that Father Walter, despite his hauteur and insouciant evaluations of 

his spiritual father, appeared in all probability to be correct in his 
predictions for the abbey's future. The effect was pandemic. The 
monks in Georgia and Virginia feared reassignment; the Florida 
project was called into question, and abbey discipline itself was 
threatened. The episcopacy was clearly to be a mixed blessing. 

This interior dissension was a problem for Haid on three levels. It 
hurt the monastic spirit of his abbey, and in particular he believed it a 
threat to Father Walter's virtue. It threatened scandal. And, on a 
more personal level, it added weight to insecurities that had already 
waged an initial assault when he had first acquiesced in the 
appointment to the dual jurisdiction. Leahy's argument was so 
cogent, that even the abbot pondered its validity. 

But the possibility of public scandal was the most immediate of the 
problems. In the early months of 1888 two occurrences had already 
threatened the reputation of the abbey and its relations with the 
locals, and a third, caused by an ideological revolt, had to be 

The first of the scandals had involved Father Bede Northman, 
O.S.B., a Minnesota monk who was on assignment in the South. 
While Abbot Leo was away, Northman slipped out and went to the 
neighboring town of Mount Holly. There he drank to excess and 
"acted very boisterously." The next day, Father Julius succeeded in 
locating the man and transporting him back to the abbey. Father 
Bede found life in Carolina too loathsome to be endured, and 
demanded fifty dollars in travel money so he could return to his own 
home. Receiving forty-five dollars, he left. Between trains in Atlanta, 
Father Bede again satisfied his thirst, and this time found himself 
arrested and jailed. The priest was allowed to pay his fine there — 
apparently using funds he had secreted after attending his mother's 
funeral the previous fall — only after, as Haid phrased it, he "gave 
away our poor house," claiming to be a monk, cleric, and professor at 
Mary help. M The incident did little to promote a respectable image for 
the abbey, and it seemed particularly expressive of an apparent lack 
of discipline. 

The second problem in early 1888, came not from scandal as much 
as from a controversy that fed the fears of local Protestants regarding 
their Catholic neighbors. That spring, North Carolina hosted an 
Immigration Convention. It was convoked to consider the possibility 
of securing from among the ranks of recent immigrants to America, 
new citizens for the southern states. The skills of these people, it was 
suggested, would prove a positive economic factor. There were 
approximately two hundred delegates from the eleven states of the 
South. The governors of Georgia and South Carolina were there; 

even the mayor of New York City attended, as did representatives of 
the railroads and industry. A substantial percentage of the 
prospective immigrants were Catholic, so Haid wholeheartedly 
endorsed the convention, believing it might help enlarge the Catholic 
population of North Carolina. He attended the meeting, too, as did 
the bishop of Savannah. Gibbons also appeared in Hot Springs for 
the convention, and addressed the delegates. 

The Cardinal's presence confirmed local fears that the meeting was 
a Roman plot, a lunge by the Catholics for greater numbers and 
influence. The press spoke out against the assemblage, creating so 
much excitement that the governor of North Carolina decided not to 
attend. He did not, however, withdraw the government monies that 
supported this "Catholic" convention. The Protestant clergy, who 
were invited in greater numbers than were the Catholics, absented 
themselves on the whole, reportedly — or presumably — in protest. 

Haid objected to the newspaper coverage that labeled the meeting 
as Roman and anti-American, and decided to make a public response. 
He chose as his forum the Gastonia Gazette, a paper in Gaston 
County that ordinarily ignored both the abbey and the supposed 
Catholic Menace." The abbot wrote a long letter to the newspaper in 
which he noted the early involvement of Catholics in the praise of 
God on Carolina soil, the economic benefits of having an influx of 
immigrants, and the equality of Catholic Americans with Protestant 
citizens. Unfortunately, he also made sarcastic references to the "silly 
twaddle" about Romanism, that "no man of sense believes," and 
reported he was yet to discover a Protestant who was "unwilling to 
take money because it came from Catholics." 39 The letter, which Haid 
signed with his title as president of the college, was published, but did 
not win the author a warm outpouring of local affection. 

It did, however, earn him a public rebuke in the Gazette. The 
"distinguished writer," the editor maintained, ignored the gist of the 
paper's objections to "the Hot Springs scheme," namely the 
appropriation of public money for a "Catholic" meeting. The Gazette 
claimed to have "said nothing but what our convictions as a citizen 
and a Christian demanded." And as for the arguments Haid 
considered to be "twaddle," the editor suggested in a deliciously pithy 
rejoiner, "We know it was Protestants that made this country what it 
is; Catholics made Mexico what it is; take your choice." 40 

His "choice" was to try to stay out of print for a while. 

The effect of Father Walter's activities, however, demanded a 
more immediate and direct approach. Correcting the monk in this 
regard proved especially odious to the abbot, since he was inclined to 
agree with at least the foundation of the priest's fears. Nevertheless, 

Leahy was disrupting the whole house and had to be stopped. Haid 
cautioned him first, then gave a warning. But the peace of the rebuke 
seemed to fuel the priest. He began to "torment and [even] tease" 41 his 
abbot, giving "more trouble directly and indirectly than all the others 
together." 42 The disruption caused by Leahy fed on Abbot Leo's 
discomfort at having accepted a position that would regularly take 
him from his monastery and its needs; the problem festered; in his 
guilt, the abbot decided Father Walter's complaints were indeed 
substantial, and he determined to render the Benedictines greater 
service by resigning the abbacy. "I felt that I was unjustly treated by 
those for whom I was ready to make any sacrifice, and for whom I 
had labored without ever thinking of myself," he said, but he 
understood their complaints. His only reservation about resigning 
was reluctance to leave his young abbey with so many debts. 43 

Leo Haid had learned monastic obedience on its simplest level. 
Having been told to do something or to stop it, he believed there was 
only one proper course of action consistent with the monastic vows. 
Walter Leahy, however, did not respond within these parameters, 
and the abbot-bishop was helpless at dealing with this young priest's 
incorrigible will. Although Haid was sympathetic on a rational level 
to Father Walter's view of the problem, the recalcitrance was 
unintelligible to him. So the abbot finally decided his own duty lay in 
the performance of both jobs, as assigned by the Holy See. The same 
applied, he reasoned, to Walter Leahy who was bound by his vows to 
be obedient to his abbot. Accordingly, Haid did not resign his 
monastic office; instead he decided to confront Father Walter with 
the duties incumbent on the monk by virtue of his religious 

Leahy had been given responsibility for the new high school 
Belmont had established in Richmond the previous year. Joseph 
Heppert, of the Virginia capital, had erected a new building for the 
institution, 44 and Father Walter's position was considered a choice 
assignment, showing Bishop Haid's trust in the younger priest. Leahy 
had proven gifted for the work. Nevertheless, Abbot Leo decided that 
his only chance for securing Father Walter's soul and for re- 
establishing his monastery's spirit, was to isolate the priest for the 
present from the other monks. Accordingly, in August, Haid gave the 
principal in Richmond a new assignment, sending him to the recently 
acquired missions in Florida. 'Tather Walter is not over well 
pleased," the abbot wrote to Archabbot Andrew, "but that does not 
surprise me." 45 

"Not over well pleased" was a very modest version of Walter 
Leahy's response. The logic of responding to complaints about monks 

in parishes, by sending a monk to a parish hundreds of miles from his 
monastery, seems to have escaped Father Walter. In October he 
asked to transfer his stability to Saint Mary Abbey in Newark. "I 
never signed a paper more gladly," Abbot Leo reported, "May he find 
the source of all his troubles: himself, and having found it correct it." 46 
There was no victory for either Haid or Leahy; the settlement evaded 
the problem and its issues. But with the young priest gone, the abbey 
regained some measure of peace. 47 "A new spirit seems to reign," 48 
said the abbot, and he finally turned to his newly diversified labors. 

As it happened, Walter Leahy was not happy in Newark either. 
Eventually, he left that abbey, too, and was incardinated into the 
Diocese of Trenton. There he spent the rest of his life, as irony 
seemed to demand, as a parish priest. His parochial service was 
sufficiently distinguished to earn him the title of "monsignor". He 
also wrote a novel, Clarence Belmont , a thinly veiled romance of school 
boys at Saint Mary's College. Eventually he and Haid were 
reconciled, and Leahy became a friend and benefactor of the 
Carolina College. 


The Leahy affair, unpleasant as it was, had the salutary effect of 
forcing Leo Haid in the first days of his episcopacy to consider the 
balance that had to exist between his mitres. He held two full-time 
positions, each of which reserved to him personally some particular 
duties that precluded delegation. Other responsibilities, especially 
subordinate ones, could be shared by his subalterns. 

To give each of his positions its necessary tenor, the bishop 
considered first their points of unity, and from there he developed his 
distinctions. The Church — which was for local purposes personalized 
perhaps, but not personified, in himself— appeared to be the simplest 
denominator. Both the bishop and the abbot were heads of the 
immediate Church, each in its respective sphere. And Haid held the 
offices of abbot and bishop, in each case, as a matter of obedience. 
The positions came from a single source, the Church, and were to be 
held concurrently. Nevertheless, they indisputably were not 
coterminous, nor should they be treated as if they were. 

Leo Haid began to trade, then, on the uniqueness of his new 
identity. The Church had named him both abbot and bishop. Thus he 
functioned as abbot when at the monastery, and bishop when in the 
parishes. But he was still the abbot-bishop, both at once, both at all 
times. To help in creating the image he wanted, the first tour of the 

missions by North Carolina's new Vicar Apostolic featured an often 
repeated "lecture on Monks, as the honor and glory of monastic life is 
really entwined about our Mother the Church." He toured the state 
presenting himself as a sort of epergne, holding a variety of not 
wholly disparate treasures, the episcopal ones enriched by the 
monastic. "The people," he concluded, "really feel most happy to 
have a monk-bishop." 49 The more internecine aspects of his 
responsibilities were at least obscured for the present. 

Further emphasis was granted to the abbot's double dignity 
through his employment of the abbey as a second cathedral. Gibbons 
had endorsed this by enthroning him at Belmont as well as in the 
East. But the use was still unofficial; Wilmington was the only See of 
the Vicariate. Yet by maintaining his residence in Gaston County, in 
the western portion of the state, and so obviously giving the facilities 
of his home to the enhancement of the Vicariate Apostolic, he 
established an immediate breadth of concern, a quality of which his 
episcopal predecessors had proven incapable. The Catholics of 
western Carolina were no longer to be neglected. This was important 
as an indicator of his priorities, also. For although Haid was 
interested in spreading the faith, the more pressing concern, as he saw 
it, was the preservation of the few Catholics already living in 
Carolina; before attempting evangelization, spiritual and sacramental 
provisions had to be secured for those already numbered among the 
faithful. "It will be a long time," he wrote to Saint John Abbey, 
'before we can hope to breathe the air of Catholic progress." 50 

On the whole, these discernments proved wise. Bishop Haid 
created a character around his reign that emphasized both his 
difference from his predecessors — who had been only moderately 
successful at best — and his stability. The abbatial residence in 
particular served to emphasize the permanence of his positions: Leo 
Haid would not leave North Carolina for a more secure See as had 
each of the previous Vicars Apostolic. Priorities also were recognized 
as well arranged, with attention given to the whole state, not just the 
East, and with the needs of his present clientele preceding goals of 
growth and magnitude. As usual, Leo Haid was impeccably 
organized; the vicariate had goals, good prospects for means, and a 
fresh beginning. The abbot-bishop, anxious to capitalize on the good 
will of the Catholics of the state, wasted no time in showing himself 
as well as his program. From this there came spirit and optimism. 
And the people and clergy warmed to him immediately. He seized the 
opportunity, then, and spoke to them of Church and religion. He 
spoke too of monks, and emphasized their spiritual value; these 
monks, he would relate, were praying for all the people, upbuilding 

the Church as surely as the priest in the parish. He would then 
present himself, the bishop, the abbot, the priest, the monk, all of 
these in one man, come from the monastery to speak of God, to give 
Christ's Sacraments. Then he would move on to the next church to 
continue his work. Even Haid was dazzled by the effect of the first 
tour. "My visits through the 'diocese' give me much consolation, as [it 
seems] I can do something for religion and God." 51 

The tour revealed Leo Haid's facility for representing solid and 
idealistic standards of religion and virtue. It also used his sense of 
privacy and modesty to good effect, allowing him to be shrouded in 
just enough personal mystery to have even his enemies grant him 
reserve from their doubts. But the abbot-bishop was still hopelessly 
incompetent at dealing with people who questioned or disagreed with 
him. And prolonged exposure would apply this weakness to his 
detriment throughout his reign. His gentleness hurt his commands. 
Once filtered through his native sensitivity, orders appeared as hopes 
or aspirations perhaps, but never as requirements. In the monastery 
where obedience drew from the abbot's paternity and solicitude — and 
in Haid's case, from the impact of his presence — discipline could be 
maintained in this way. But in a diocesan environment, particularly 
in nineteenth century America, bishops were expected to be strong 
masters, authoritative and clear. Haid knew this; he even allowed 
some monks, as necessity demanded, to enter the service of a diocese 
in the belief that "with the strong arm of a Bishop to guide him, he 
will do much better than under the paternal guidance of an Abbot." 52 
But the bishop of North Carolina did not possess these mighty thews 
and sinews. Perhaps if Leo Haid had explained his theory of 
obedience, the vicariate clergy would have united behind him. 
Through the years, however, never grasping the subtlety of his 
approach or its inherent respect for their potential for mature 
response, the secular priests would come to find Abbot Leo 
ineffectual, just as he — equally oblivious of the misunderstanding — 
would see them as disobedient ingrates. 

Bishop Haid compounded his difficulties through poor 
communication. This problem arose from his ordinary, very practical 
approach. It is part of the complexity of his story that this man whose 
virtue was the inspiration of lofty idealism in others, was himself 
rooted in the strictures of practicality and the thinly traced 
circumference of a schoolmaster's logic. To Abbot Leo it was 
perfectly logical that with two jobs and a vast territory, his presence 
was limited, of necessity. Accordingly, he communicated largely by 
mail in dealing with the vicariate priests, with missives going out to 
his clergy regularly, regarding any number of concerns. In this way — 

although it was a perfectly logical and practical approach — Leo Haid 
separated himself from his secular co-workers. Stylisticly his writing 
was as conventional and ordinary as his presence and oratory were 
electric. Success in building cohesive bonds with his vicariate and its 
personnel depended upon presence. It is true that he was not 
available any less than his predecessors who ran dioceses outside of 
North Carolina, but for what he inflamed his priests to expect, the 
presence of the Ordinary was necessary. He, Leo Michael Haid, 
bishop and abbot, was needed. But he could not grasp the mystery of 
charism; he did not comprehend its logic, and as a result, he tore 
away the foundations of his own dreams. An artificial, impersonal 
presence did not work for him. 

The abbot-bishop tried also to deal with the involvement his monks 
would have in the vicariate. With Leahy gone, he found the monks 
surprisingly willing to assist, but he was determined to be mindful of 
the different vocation a monk-priest had from that of a secular priest 
of the vicariate. Among the differences, he assigned priority to the 
affiliation with the monastery itself. Missionary priests, he reasoned, 
expected to live alone and travel incessantly. For a Benedictine, 
however, such a life would be dangerous, since it breeds a spirit of 
independence... not in keeping with our vows." 53 Accordingly, when 
Benedictines were assigned to missions, the abbot preferred that they 
work within a reasonable proximity of the abbey. If more than one 
monk were assigned, and some semblance of cenobitical existence 
secured, a greater distance might be indulged. Unfortunately for Haid 
in his role as bishop, this arrangement gave the abbey's priests a 
concentrated field of endeavor that kept the bishop, in residence at 
Belmont, surrounded primarily by monastic rather than secular 
clergy. Only on rare occasions or for temporary assignments would 
the abbot-bishop place monks and seculars in the same parish; thus 
when pairs of monks went to a parish, they tended to displace the 
seculars who had established and developed the particular church. 
That created friction. Furthermore, since only the larger and more 
secure urban parishes merited more than one priest in permanent 
residence simultaneously, the vicariated men saw the monastery's 
priests slowly gaining possession of the best of North Carolina's 
parochial churches. From Bishop Haid's perspective he was making 
logical assignments that reflected the unique vocations of the two 
clerical groups at his disposal. To the secular priests the villainy 
seemed unmistakable: the grasping and proprietary movements of the 
Benedictines were unchecked. 

The abbot-bishop endured an additional element of insulation from 
the secular clergy because of his advisors. Hintemeyer, of course, was 


the bishop's first and only choice for Vicar General, the second 
authority in the territory. And through simple availability, 
Haid — who really did not often convene his councilors 
anyway — most often let his monastic curia double as his diocesan 

The seculars would have been further dismayed had they known 
that the bishop considered their lot far easier than the monks'. 
Charles Mohr was sent to the parish in Greensboro, for example, in 
Haid's first month as Ordinary. The reason for the assignment was 
Father Charles' poor health; it was poor from the fatiguing routine of 
the monastery and classroom, and the parish and missions should, it 
seemed, provide the needed rest. 54 Haid even maintained that the 
relative comfort of life in the secular clergy was the great deterrent 
that kept young American men from entering the monastery." 

Leo Haid saw the placement of monks in parishes as a temporary 
arrangement. His Benedictines perceived the subject somewhat 
differently, however, but the abbot did not discover their difference 
of opinion until more than two years had passed. In the meantime he 
opened his seminary at the abbey to candidates for the secular clergy. 
At Belmont the seculars studied alongside the monastic candidates — 
though both sets of seminarians were largely sequestered from the 
college students — and they had the benefit of attending classes 
conducted by the Vicar General and by the bishop himself. 

As the monastery and vicariate became increasingly intermingled 
in their interests and practical affairs, their finances became 
hopelessly entangled, too. Gibbons, of course, had made no secret of 
the financial woes he hoped to alleviate by having a single head for 
the abbey and the 'diocese'. Based on the Cardinal's rationale, Abbot 
Leo believed he had carte blanche leave to finance both operations 
without careful distinctions being maintained. For a man who taught 
bookkeeping for more than a decade, it was an amazingly negligent 
and sloppy set of ledgers that resulted. It would lead to unfortunate 
legal complications, too, and arouse the ire of the monks and 
suspicions of the seculars. But to the bishop — as usual — it was all 
perfectly logical. Both jurisdictions were united in the Church. The 
vicariate helped the monastery by establishing the Catholic Church 
in Carolina. That would breed both vocations and students. The 
monastery helped the vicariate by educating its young and its priests, 
praying, witnessing to eternal values. It provided a much needed 
balance to the active life that surrounded it, and it displayed 
specifically Catholic standards and values, which in turn attracted 
fresh interest from Protestants and encouraged new fervor among the 
faithful. The vicariate and abbey profited from one another in their 


work. But neither had even minimal security of a financial nature. 
The Benedictines were in debt; the vicariate had no money with 
which to do its work or build and grow. In a sense the genius of the 
new arrangement — Gibbons' in inception and Haid's in 
execution — was that it united the two unparticularized (and 
impoverished) entities, and bestowed on them a character, a unique 
identity. And with this individuation or distinction, money began to 
appear for both bodies for the first time. When Abbot Leo toured the 
North on begging trips, he was not just another bishop of a poor 
vicariate, not just some minor abbot who had more monks than cells, 
more bills than students' tuitions. No, this was Leo Haid, America's 
monk-bishop, striving to give Roman Catholicism a foothold in the 
Protestant South. And the abbot-bishop was a tremendous success on 
these excursions; he detested begging, but he did it well. When money 
appeared, it paid whatever bills were current— vicariate, abbey, 
college — and the bishop assumed that somehow it all balanced 
eventually. The distinctions between these bodies were obscure to the 
donors, and equally unclear in the spheres of daily functioning. But 
bills were being paid; there was progress, and neither condition was 
the case before the vicariate and monastery were united in Leo Haid. 
In the years to come, however, his disregard for documenting the 
association between the two bodies would haunt him and threaten to 
blemish his reputation. 

The burdens of episcopal office were lightened somewhat by Haid's 
sense of organization. But the expanse of the state required extended 
blocks of time for travel, and frequent repetition of similar services. 
In May 1889, for example, the bishop administered Confirmation on 
six occasions, yet only thirty-two received the Sacrament. In October 
1892, he gave the Sacrament in ten cities, but still with only a 
minimal quantity of recipients. 56 Yet these excursions kept the abbot 
away from his monks for substantial periods of time. In 1 889 he spent 
the spring begging in New York state. Another year it was 
Pennsylvania; he tried New Jersey. He even went to Iowa. Then to 
these travels he added retreats for diocesan clergy, sisters, Orders of 
men. In all of the travels he was just "trying to do a little good for 
others and also help to keep up our institution, for we are poor, have 
a considerable debt, etc." 57 In his talks he raised funds for the 
'progress of religion;" in letters to benefactors he sought money for 
some specific projects. But he required his parish clergy, whether 
secular or Benedictine, to undertake their own fund raising efforts 
when their congregations did not respond adequately to local needs. 

Long absences were already a problem for Haid when, in 1890, he 
found himself elected praeses of the American Cassinese 


Congregation. With this office, the abbot incurred responsibility for 
visitations in the Congregation's monasteries throughout the 
country; he was expected to officiate at all abbatial elections, and to 
coordinate dealings with Rome. The six years of his service were 
marked by considerable growth for the Order in America. Bishop 
Haid assisted in the elevation of monasteries in Alabama and Illinois 
to the rank of "abbey," of the Florida priory to independence, and of 
Saint Vincent to archabbatial status in perpetuum, Abbots were elected 
or appointed in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Alabama, and Illinois. The 
praeses also worked to have the monastery in New Hampshire erected 
as an abbey, with Alexius Edelbrock appointed as abbot-for-life, but 
that effort failed. Florida did not acquire abbatial status until 1902, 
but at that time Abbot Leo performed the blessing himself, the 
candidate being his protege, Charles Mohr. 

Another matter of particular interest to the Cassinese praeses, 
permissions for novitiates in individual monasteries, consumed much 
of his time. Haid thought the practice of sending all the 
Congregation's novices to Saint Vincent was expensive, required 
unnecessary travel, and endangered the young men's health. 58 It was 
a battle never fully resolved to the abbot's satisfaction, and 
presumption of permissions by the praeses resulted in the invalidation 
of Belmont's formation class of 1892. 39 

The service of which Praeses Haid was proudest was his Roman 
mission of 1893, in which he was one of the leaders in the effort to 
limit the authority and powers of the Abbot Primate. Abbot Leo was 
but one of many spokesmen against the primate's acquisition of any 
real powers over the exempt, autonomous monasteries of the Order 
of Saint Benedict, but he turned the full weight of his influence and 
connections to the struggle, and did make his mark. Leo XIII had 
created the controversy with Summum semper, issued finally after 
great anticipation and exchange of ideas, on 12 July 1893. The 
Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars had authority 
subsequent to the papal pronouncement to define and particularize 
the new position. Haid fought during the spring to lay the 
groundwork for his cause, and in concert with several other abbots 
issued a document of Benedictine history, customs, and law that was 
submitted to the Pope and Curia. Returning to America, a modest 
victory secured, he believed he had performed a service on behalf of 
the whole Order, not just his own Congregation. He and his party, 
the bishop later recalled, had managed to "clip the Primate's wings." 60 

Abbot Leo's tenure as praeses was a small and minor chapter in his 
life. It was an unhappy service, too. "Whilst I am very willing to give 


99 A 00th of my life to the Order, there is a limit," the abbot wrote. 
Besides, he found that he was regularly "censured for things I cannot 
help," 61 an added burden he did not need. Haid had been accused, for 
example, of "execrable officiousness" and of "shakfing] the very 
foundation of this great Abbey," because he had executed his duty 
and forwarded Archabbot Andrew's resignation to Rome in 1892." 
In 1893, considerable displeasure was expressed after he dutifully 
acted on the General Chapter's decision to meet next in Illinois. By 
the time of the General Chapter of that year, Leo Haid had enough 
pettiness with which to deal, without suffering the complaints of a 
whole federation of monasteries, and he determined not to continue 
in office as praeses. 63 

Even more than the disgust with the office itself, Abbot Leo was 
having to face growing dissension at Belmont regarding the quantity 
of his absences. Accordingly, when Maryhelp's Chapter met to elect 
its delegate to the 1893 Congregation Chapter, the abbot announced 
that he "would beg to be excused from again accepting the office [of 
praeses] if tendered." 64 But at the Congregation's conclave, the 
position was offered to him again, despite his objections; Haid 
demurred; the delegates to the General Chapter insisted; and the 
abbot-bishop found himself in the embarrassing position of having to 
return to North Carolina again as praeses. Not until the 
Congregation's Chapter of 1896 was Haid permitted to retire from 
the praeses ' chair. Abbot Leo wrote the primate then, "I thank God!" 65 


The revolt over the abbot's absences had not wholly terminated 
with the departure of Father Walter. And when to the bishop's 
travels there were added the praeses ' many journeys, the monks of 
Belmont began expressing their reservations regarding the attention 
given to what they saw as Haid's first and primary responsibility: his 
abbacy. The fathers of Mary help also objected to their own 
increasing absences. Missionary work was becoming a larger part of 
their lives, drawing them out of their cloister, away from their 
confreres and students, and thus changing the character of their 
monastic observance. It is a mark of how successfully Abbot Leo had 
initiated his men into the ethos he originally created for Maryhelp, 
that his monks did object so strenuously to the shift — so gradual it 
might have proven almost imperceptible — in emphasis. 

For the abbot, options were limited. The responsibilities that were 
his as abbot and as bishop had been assigned to him by the Holy See; 

he had to tend to both simultaneously, and each was considered a life- 
long position. The praeses ' job, however, was only for a specified 
term. It was temporary, and thus its burden was only passing. What 
was needed by the abbot-bishop was a manner of incorporating the 
monks into his vicariate work in a way that would lend the same 
sense of permanence, stability, and corporate unity as his titles lent 
him, but which would do so without offending the men's monastic 
values. There was no substantial problem in their intimacy with the 
monastery and its work, especially the college. But the monks needed, 
Haid reasoned, a type of involvement in the vicariate that would 
seem less ephemeral than did the upbuilding of scattered parishes for 
conveyance to the secular clergy. 

From this need, the abbot decided in July of 1 890 to petition Rome 
to entrust the counties surrounding the abbey to the perpetual care of 
the Order of Saint Benedict. The idea had originally occurred to Haid 
in 1888, 66 when documents regarding the Florida parishes were being 
transferred from Saint Vincent to Belmont. Bishop John Moore of 
Saint Augustine had given the Florida Benedictines Hernando 
County. While Rome was considering whether or not to approve the 
gift, the state government divided Hernando County, creating three 
political distinctions in the original territory, the new counties being 
called "Pasco" and "Citrus". The decree for the Benedictines was 
approved in the summer of 1887, naming only Hernando County. 
Since the monks' work, after the territorial partition by the state, no 
longer centered on Hernando, but on Pasco County, some 
adjustment was obviously necessary. And the decision reached was 
that the land originally specified should be respected, rather than 
interpreting the document according to the area's name. In this way, 
although the territory was still at its original size, the grant covered 
the more expansive sounding breadth of three counties. 67 Haid 
acquired a copy of the decree 68 — which Wimmer had written, Moore 
had signed and submitted, and Rome had approved — and began 
preparing his own request. He anticipated no problem that might 
preclude the grant since he understood that gifts of a similar nature 
had recently been recorded not just in Florida, but in Alabama and 
Colorado, too. 69 Besides, this was sure to be a case where the local 
"Bishop and Abbot can agree for once!" 70 

In all probability, the petition would indeed have been approved, 
were it not for the manner of its submission. Haid was still relatively 
new to the episcopate, and unsure regarding the precise manner in 
which he was to balance his two jurisdictions. This petition, since it 
affected both entities, proved particularly muddled. Reasoning that 
this was a gift for the Benedictines, and knowing his monastic 

channels to be more efficient than his episcopal contacts, Haid 
entered the proposal in Rome as a petition from the abbot of 
Maryhelp, endorsed by the Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina. 
Unfortunately, he had things backwards, and curial suspicions were 
aroused. Bishops, not abbots, entered requests regarding diocesan 

Rome wrote to Cardinal Gibbons in Baltimore. The vicariate lay 
within the archbishop's province, and he might have been expected 
to endorse or at least acknowledge the request before it was sent to 
the Holy See. Apparently for reasons of inexperience, Haid neglected 
to request the Cardinal's opinion, however; so the Propaganda 
contacted the rather surprised prelate on its own in December of 
1890. 71 Bishop Haid thought nothing of the delay, attributing it to 
Rome's "well-known slowness," 72 and waited patiently. He was 
reluctant to press for an answer lest this Benedictine petition distract 
from what he considered a more important request for the Order, the 
elevation of Saint Vincent to archabbatial status. 73 

Gibbons finally wrote his response after the beginning of the new 
year. Because of the circumstances of the inquiry itself, the Cardinal's 
report was prepared without consultation with Haid. The 
Benedictines were worthy of great praise, he suggested, for their 
generous service to religion in North Carolina. They were selflessly 
giving themselves to every manner of missionary labor, and they 
should be rewarded. This particular petition, however, seemed to His 
Eminence to solicit a recompense that would be imprudent, since it 
was sure to cause complications later between secular Ordinaries of 
North Carolina and the monks. Rather than give parishes in 
perpetuity, it was the Cardinal's counter-recommendation that the 
territory be given to the Order of Saint Benedict for a period of forty 
or fifty years. 74 In August of 1891 the monastic Chapter told Haid the 
compromise was acceptable, but Abbot Leo was not yet ready to 
concede defeat. 

Gibbons, Rome, and Haid, it seems, were keenly conscious of the 
difficulties in the American Midwest at this time, regarding 
Benedictine parishes and unhappy Ordinaries. Edelbrock was 
assaulted throughout his reign with these problems, as were other 
abbots. Gibbons wanted to avoid such controversies. He 
recommended that Rome should be conscious of the rights of 
future — probably non-Benedictine — bishops in North Carolina. But 
Haid was equally concerned that since his monks were to share in the 
effort to build up the Church there anyway, "some territory [should 
be] set apart for this work where it can be done without danger of 
clashing with secular Priests." Thus despite the first discouraging 

report from Simeoni at the Propaganda, filled with reservations about 
the time frame, the abbot-bishop decided to "insist on a Perpetual 
Concession—the reasons [being] quite evident when we remember 
how frequently Religious are ousted after years of sacrifice." 75 

In deciding to fight Rome's reluctance, the abbot-bishop 
committed what should have proven a significant, tactical error. 
Opposition was not ordinarily received cordially in Rome. And while 
men with contacts and influence could push and maneuver, recently 
consecrated bishops in impoverished Vicariates Apostolic did not 
tend to flourish within the elite corps of ecclesiastical politicos. Yet 
somehow Leo Haid made the right contacts and the right 
impressions, and the petition started to break its restraints and trudge 
forward through the Church's bureaucracy. Apparently the initiatory 
force that worked on Cardinal Simeoni and his cohorts was Abbot 
Bernard Smith, O.S.B., who as Haid's Roman procurator handled the 
abbot-bishop's intercourse with the Holy See. This Benedictine took 
the North Carolina bishop's petition to every imaginable office; he 
pleaded for the needs and integrity of religion, and he brought to the 
attention of the curial offices a man and monastery known to them 
before only from the episcopal nomination submitted by the 
American Cardinal. Now, however, they heard a larger story, of an 
eloquent abbot-bishop striving to manage a monastery, college, and 
farm that were growing so fast that new buildings had been required 
in each year of his reign; his vicariate was building an average of 
more than two churches per year. After decades of dormancy, 
Catholicism had taken root in North Carolina, and all of this was 
happening under the leadership of Leo Michael Haid, abbot and 
bishop. It was a marvelous, vivid image of a beleagured but successful 
churchman in missionary America, and it would serve Leo Haid for 
years to come. 

Abbot Leo never discovered that it was Gibbons who had first 
blocked the petition in Rome, 76 nor did he realize the jeopardy in 
which he had placed his petition when he decided to continue 
fighting for a perpetual concession. The abbot also never knew why 
the Holy See was thereafter so conspicuously at his service, so 
consistently indulgent of his requests. The shrewd and inspiriting 
service of Bernard Smith was not fully understood in Carolina. Haid 
was pleasantly surprised when, in Rome in 1893, the Holy Father 
gave him a private audience, and proved so interested in his work and 
success. Even when Gibbons himself fawned over the abbot and said, 
"If I did nothing else in North Carolina but to introduce there the 
Benedictines, my work was not in vain," 77 Haid was oblivious of the 
charism at his command and the image being created and 

promulgated in Rome. 

But he did know that on 4 December 1891, Joannes Cardinal 
Simeoni, Prefect of the Propaganda Fide, affixed his signature and 
thus "confirmed and ratified" a convention which ceded to the Order 
of Saint Benedict for fifty years the spiritual administration of the 
counties of Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Cleveland, Cabarrus, Rowan, 
Davidson, Guilford, Forsythe, and Gaston" in North Carolina. 78 Leo 
Haid had been granted for his monks nine full counties. From his 
original request nothing had been changed but the time span, and 
that alteration in itself was a blessing of sorts, since it left open a 
perpetual grant in the future, one that might even include a better 
territory. But even for the present, the Benedictines found themselves 
in possession of a clear field of exclusive missionary responsibility. "I 
hold Deeds as Bishop," he proudly reported to Archabbot Leander 
Schnerr at Saint Vincent, "but the Order has the cum [of souls]." 79 

"If I had one or two good [extra] O.S.B.'s," the abbot had mused in 
the first year of his episcopacy, "I would certainly annex 
unmercifully But with the annexation of 1891 secured, the abbot- 
bishop shelved those plans. More than missionary territory, Abbot 
Leo wanted a buffer zone around his monastery in which the rivalries 
between secular priests and religious would not exist. The grant of 
fifty years, which for the most part merely recognized the current 
sphere of Benedictine labor, gave both the monastery and vicariate a 
period for intense work, for establishing and nurturing the Roman 
Catholic Church in North Carolina. When half a century had passed, 
the Benedictines could ask the reigning bishop to petition Rome for 
an extension; they could withdraw, or some other arrangement might 
be created. But for the specified time, assuming the Benedictines 
tended to the Catholics within their territory, no non-Benedictine 
bishop who might follow Haid could arbitrarily relieve the abbey of 
these missions. 81 The monks were placated by the gift of their own 
missionary field, and seem not to have noticed that the bishop 
subsequently manifested a rather benign attitude toward its 
development, caring for its Catholics but exerting little effort toward 
spreading the faith. The secular clergy also seemed pleased since the 
western part of the state might now be expected to start developing a 
greater Catholic population, and the Benedictines had apparently 
resolved to do their share of the work. 

Charlotte, the sole large city in the territory, had the only 
significant parish not already tended by Benedictine priests. From 
that church came, lamentably, the worst immediate effect of the 
grant. Mark Gross, pastor of Saint Peter Church there, believed he 
had been betrayed; apparently, Gross had assumed himself to be 

somehow exempt from the effects of the decree. So distraught was 
this priest at being assigned to a parish outside the Benedictines' 
territory, that he finally left the state entirely, ending his years of 
friendship with Maryhelp and of distinguished missionary service to 
North Carolina. But the abbot-bishop would allow no exceptions. As 
he understood the situation, for any church in the nine county 
territory, "by Papal Decree the church is a monastic church;" they 
were to be staffed by Benedictines, not by seculars, and major 
decisions regarding them were to be submitted to the monastic 
Chapter. 82 

felix hmtemeyeR 

While the growth of Haid's abbey was slow, it was unquestionably 
steady. Ideally, the vicariate was not allowed to distract the bishop 
too long from the monastery and college, and when it inevitably did, 
Hintemeyer stayed behind to build in the abbot's absence. The 
contributions of Father Felix were, on the whole, less practical than 
Abbot Leo's, or at least less confined to function. Yet, perhaps for 
that reason, they tended also to do more to enhance the image of the 
abbot-bishop, and to add a visionary quality to his ambitions that was 
otherwise lacking. Then too, because the prior was a man who did his 
work efficiently, expeditiously, quietly, then stepped into the 
background whenever the bishop appeared, the two monks 
constituted an astoundingly complementary pair of leaders. And as 
Haid was called out of the monastery with increasing frequency, 
Father Felix discreetly picked up the reins and the initiative, and 
began creating the atmosphere that came to surround the bishop, and 
which in turn created in America some of the same aura Bernard 
Smith had designed for the abbot at the Holy See. Hintemeyer, with 
his gentle ways, refined tastes, and unqualified devotion to Abbot 
Leo, started bringing to Belmont the trappings that would speak of 
the abbot-bishop's prominence. 

Many of Father Felix's contributions were small and insignificant, 
but each played a part in the aura that came to surround Leo Haid. 
Through Hintemeyer, to the abbot's world of squared, brick buildings 
there came religious art, precious vessels and appointments for 
church use. His refinements ranged from administrative stationery 
(Episcopal Residence, Saint Mary's College, Belmont, NC") and 
envelopes that expressed the abbot's local fame ("L.H., Belmont, 
NC"), to episcopal jewelry. He also tried to enhance the 
abbot-bishop's projects; for example, he converted one room of the 

college into a museum, a showcase for the abbey's mineral collection 
and its many gifts. No detail was too small for Father Felix's 
attention. It was his work, touching on every facet of life on which 
the abbot himself touched, that allowed Bishop Haid to hold both 
positions, head of monastery and vicariate, and to meet the demands 
of each. For while Hintemeyer did enhance the bishop's reign with 
these countless embellishments, his primary contribution was the 
coordination of administrative activities for both these bodies. 

But Hintemeyer also fathered some special projects that added 
distinction to the Haid administration. One of the more picturesque 
monuments for which the bishop was often given credit was the 
abbey's Lourdes Grotto. In June of 1890, Father Francis Meyer, 
O.S.B., a young priest of the abbey, contracted typhoid fever. As the 
disease lingered into its second month, Haid wrote, "I am afraid he 
will die, [although] we have prayed and still pray for his recovery." 83 
Father Felix, who had organized these prayers, appended to the pious 
petitions the promise that should Father Francis be cured, the monks 
would build a grotto in honor of the Virgin, whose apparition before 
Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes in 1858, had sparked great interest 
and devotion throughout the Catholic world. Meyer recovered, and 
Father Felix set the brothers to hauling granite boulders, while he 
searched for donors to finance the work. 84 

The Grotto of Maria Lourdes was a tasteful, period creation in a 
cove just northeast and below where the monastery then extended. 
There was a niche for the statue of the Blessed Mother, an altar of 
wood, granite, and marble, with brass accessories. The area was 
spacious, shady, and included a spring and creek. It was also a 
favorite habitat of the copperheads, but when someone was bitten, 
the brothers would stick the afflicted limb inside the carcass of a 
chicken to draw out the poison. 85 No deaths were recorded. 

The grotto was typical of the Hintemeyer flair. Of itself it was 
simple, attractive; it exuded an atmosphere of peace, piety, and 
prayer. But Father Felix, as usual, stepped back from the monument 
he had erected and allowed it to frame the gifts of Leo Haid. At his 
prior's suggestion, Abbot Leo agreed to bless the Lourdes Grotto as a 
Pilgrimage Shrine— the only one in the state. Hintemeyer then 
planned the festivities, arranged press coverage from as far away as 
Baltimore, and of course ordained that the highlight of the ceremony 
would be an address by the Right Reverend Bishop. 

The blessing was scheduled for 7 May 1891 , the Solemnity of the 
Ascension. Clergy and the faithful attended from across the state, 
eager to witness the ceremonies. Interest had been encouraged by 
Father Felix's announcement that the grotto was to be, above all else, 


"the Southern shrine of the Queen of the Clergy for Priestly 
Vocations." 86 And praying for more priests was always a popular 
cause, in missionary territory in particular. The bishop pontificated at 
High Mass in the Abbey Church of Maryhelp at nine o'clock on May 
seventh. Professor F. Mutter of Richmond composed a special Mass 
for the occasion,* 7 and Father Bernard led the students' choir and 
orchestra in its performance." 

After Mass and a brief respite, a procession was formed outside the 
chapel. Led by the seventeen piece brass band, the laity, monks, 
clergy, and bishop descended into the cove. A hymn opened the 
ceremony; then came the prayer of blessing. The program of the day 
noted that at the unveiling of the statue, the "audience may cheer," 89 
and according to the Catholic Mirror, the appearance of the statue 
"was saluted with the joyous acclamations of the large assembly." 90 
Then came the bishop's turn. 

Abbot Leo spoke that day with Francis Meyer at his side, well and 
happy, sharing the dais. When the story was told of the promise and 
the cure, Haid himself was so touched that his voice cracked. "The 
young Priest sat at his side, and the sobs of many . . . were audible 
amid the almost deathlike stillness around." The Vicar Apostolic was 
in his best form that day, and before the "attentive throng" his voice 
"rang through the valley," and "frequent and enthusiastic applause" 
interrupted the address. 91 

Following more hymns, the pilgrims returned to the church for 
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. That evening the people 
returned for pyrotechnics in the grotto at half past seven. 92 Later in 
the month, on Corpus Christi, 28 May, Father Francis blessed 
another statue for the shrine. This one, recently imported from 
Europe, and positioned in the grotto, near the spring, was of Saint 
Walburga, the eighth century abbess who was the monastery's 
secondary patroness. 93 With this addition the setting was completed. 
Father Felix was happy, and Leo Haid had been displayed to his best 

Soon after the grotto blessing, Felix Hintemeyer presented to the 
bishop a second design to add luster to the prelate's episcopal labor — 
and image. In this scheme, the Very Reverend Prior was able not 
only to promote the abbot's interests, but to secure invaluable 
benefits for the Church in Carolina, as well. 

It had been the custom in the United States, that wherever there 
was established an abbey of Benedictine monks, a convent of the 
Order's sisters was invited to join the work. By 1891, the men had 
been in the state for fifteen years, but no sisters had yet appeared. 94 
Bishop Haid decided it was time to remedy the situation. He enjoyed 


cordial relations with the Benedictine Sisters in Richmond, and it was 
presumably to that convent that he proposed to appeal. 95 One of the 
bishop's sisters, apparently Margaret, 96 taking the name "Sister 
Augustine," was stationed there, and the Richmond sisters of the 
Order of Saint Benedict had proven themselves dedicated and 
conscientious religious and educators. The plan was to grant these 
women the southern portion of the Caldwell land, and buy additional 
adjoining acreage. The sisters, in turn, would establish a 
motherhouse, school for girls, and an orphanage for females. 97 

Father Felix liked the outline of the plan, but he recommended an 
alternative to Haid's proposal: Hintemeyer suggested that rather than 
Benedictines, the Sisters of Mercy should be invited to the ninety- 
seven acres in Belmont set aside for the bishop's female coadjutors. 98 
Besides, the Mercies were already working in the vicariate and thus 
had familiarity with the problems and needs of North Carolina. 

The Sisters of Mercy were more ideally suited to the needs of the 
Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina at that time. The special 
eharism of the Order was a willingness to undertake any service that 
met the needs of the Church and poor. Thus they were as likely to be 
found working in prisons and pauper-houses as in schools and 
hospitals. Gibbons had invited the Mercies of Charleston and 
Baltimore to establish a convent in Wilmington, North Carolina. The 
new foundation, from Charleston, was started in 1869, when the 
sisters began what the Belmont chronicler Anselm Biggs, O.S.B., 
called "their magnificent work in the care of the poor, sick, and 
ignorant." 99 Though their growth had not been spectacular since 
moving to North Carolina, their service was noteworthy indeed. And 
by October, Hintemeyer had convinced the bishop that the invitation 
should be tendered to the Mercies rather than the Benedictines. As 
the sisters' annals recorded the day, "something like the shadow of a 
new institution appeared on the horizon." 100 

Mother Augustine, the sisters' superior, went to Belmont early in 
November to consider the details of the bishop's invitation. Haid and 
Hintemeyer showed her the abbey, land, and the proposed site of the 
new convent. The abbot also made clear his inability to assist the 
women financially, but he "manifested] a kind disposition, intimating 
that he and the Fathers would give any help in their power." It was 
estimated that five thousand dollars would be needed immediately, 
half for land. The Mercies courageously voted to undertake the 
move, and Sister Mary Charles sketched a plan for the grounds, 
walks, and the convent. This and all other communications regarding 
the project were handled by Father Felix. On 3 February 1892, at 
half past one in the afternoon, construction work began under the 

direction of Brother Gilbert Koberzynski, O.S.B. It followed the 
general design of the sister's sketch, but was more ambitious. 
Throughout construction and in all facets of planning the school, 
Hintemeyer was the bishop's agent. 101 

The Mercies had decided to name their new convent in honor of 
the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an idea warmly endorsed at Belmont. 102 In 
the spring, the bishop and Mother Augustine exchanged visits, and 
the foundation of cordial and pacific relations was established. 103 
Perhaps Haid's most eloquent endorsement of the sisters was his gift 
of Father Felix, his own most trusted assistant, as their chaplain and 

On 1 September 1892, at about half past four o'clock, the Sisters of 
Mercy stepped off the train at Belmont and proceeded to their new 
convent. There they found 

about two dozen men inside the house, at work, no doors either back, front 
or side and no way of fastening up for the night, except in the dormitory at 
the top of the house. We went to work at once to prepare for the night, put 
up a bed for each of us, with Reverend Father Felix at our side to see that it 
was done right, and the entire Catholic congregation of Belmont looking 
on, at least the ladies who had come to help, but who in reality were rather 
a hindrance. 104 

Hintemeyer arranged for Brother Philip to take the sisters their meals 
until a kitchen was ready for use, and the women settled in to the far 
from routine existence of erecting a new house of religion. 

The dedication of Sacred Heart Convent and Academy was 
scheduled for the afternoon of 8 September. Father Felix, as 
ceremoniarius , arranged for his bishop an entrance befitting the 
important enterprise being initiated. By half past three the convent 
grounds were generously populated with sisters, area Catholics, ladies 
from Charlotte, and children, when the crowd was silenced by the 
beating of drums, at some distance northward. Finally the afternoon 
sun touched the processional cross; behind that was the brass band of 
the college; it came into view, then the school's colors, the entire 
student body, all the brothers, the clerics, the priests, and finally 
Bishop Haid himself, vested in the livery of his office. The nine sisters 
greeted their Ordinary with lighted candles, and accompanied by the 
other "men folk" followed him through the building where each room 
was blessed individually. In the chapel Abbot Leo spoke, and 
officially welcomed the Sisters of Mercy to their new home: Crescat! 
Floreat! Vivat! "Grow! Flower! live!" 105 The lumber for the new 
orphanage was already on the grounds, so the progress of the sisters 
seemed inevitable. 106 

The festivities ended with an impromptu reception, that was 
carefully recorded by the sisters* historian: 

The band took its stand in the hall and played, refusing to go till they got 
refreshments which we had to prepare for them and which, not only the 
band, but everyone of the priests and Brothers enjoyed like boys. I never 
saw so many men's heads and limbs in one place in all my life, everywhere 
you turned, it was the same, men, men, men. The band is composed of 
priests, lay-Brothers and a few of the College boys. They wound up playing 
"Good-bye, my Lover, Good-bye," gave "three cheers" for the Sacred Heart 
Academy, which nearly took the roof off the house, and to our relief took 
their departure at about half past five in the same order in which they came, 
with colors flying and band playing while we had to go to work to clean up 
the litter of cake crumbs, and lemon-peels, which men-like, they let fall all 
over our nice clean floors and halls. After this we were left for a little while 
to ourselves which was indeed a relief, as we were completely worn out. . . I07 

In October, the sisters accepted the odious burden of opening a 
"steam laundry" to serve the college and monastery. This was so large 
a task that their well went dry in the second week of operation. Then 
the sisters learned that the laundry used so much water that the 
convent would have to forgo steam heat that winter. But there must 
have been some comfort in the solicitude the Benedictines sought to 
manifest on behalf of the welfare of the Mercies. Hintemeyer 
personally designed their grounds; Brother Philip planted a vineyard 
for them; and the bishop reportedly tried to visit daily. "He is indeed a 
kind Father to us," wrote Sister Agatha, "and I do regret and take 
back all I so often said about him and the Benedictines." 108 

The sisters had twenty-one pupils that first year, twelve boarders 
and nine day-students. By the second year, there were thirty-two 
students. Saint Anne's Orphan Asylum was opened in Belmont. On 
26 February 1906, the Sisters' operation of Mercy Hospital in 
Charlotte commenced. In 1910, Saint Leo School for Boys began 
serving students too young for the abbey. Their schools and hospitals 
assisted Haid throughout his territory, and they granted him an 
unfailing loyalty that, in his troublesome years as Vicar Apostolic, 
was as welcome and appreciated as it was unique. 

While the Mercies were the most important of Hintemeyer's gifts 
in the early 1890's, they were not the one that received the greatest 
attention. This most favored project was, of course, another new 

The abbot seemed always to have at least one construction project 
in progress. And if the work was not actually at the abbey, it might 
just as well be in the nine Benedictine counties of the vicariate. 109 The 
many construction efforts throughout the state laid the foundation 
for instituting an ambitious policy in Haid's territory: new churches 

were to provide for what at that time was considered racial 
integration; that meant that in all churches, pews would be reserved 
for blacks, and separate houses of worship would no longer be 
constructed. The policy was only a partial success, and some parish 
activities such as the choirs did not ordinarily become biracial. But 
the bishop did have the courage to let his decision be published in the 
papers. 110 Nevertheless, the constant news from his pastors, detailing 
the objections of the laity and insisting that the "good of religion" 
demanded condescension to the standards of the day, successfully 
forestalled through the years any significant progress toward full 
integration. And Haid himself thought it reasonable that races should 
prefer separate churches, just as the Germans liked to have their own 
congregations, apart from the Irish. 

At the abbey, monastery wings arose 111 in 1880, 1891, 1894, and a 
special area for the brothers appeared in 1893 . Sections of the college 
were erected in 1886, 1888, 1898, and a college wing was tacked on 
to the Brothers' Building in 1897. Facilities for the farm consumed 
the laborers' time in 1887; there was a bakery to build in 1890. Later 
there would be another brothers' wing (1 904), also intended to house 
the library, and other independent structures. For these projects the 
abbot gave the general direction; the prior was engaged in the 
construction efforts primarily during Haid's absences. But for the 
principal project of the 1890's, Hintemeyer and the bishop shared 
more equally in the effort to secure a structure of the quality and 
dimension they required. 

That project was the erection of a church that would be 
appropriate to a Benedictine abbey. Even beyond the inadequate 
quantity of pews, the frame church had proven unsuitable for 
pontifical ceremonies such as were expected of a prelate in residence. 
The monastery's church was not a cathedral — it would not achieve 
that rank until 1910 — but because of the bishop's presence it was 
popularly identified by that term. At first Abbot Leo had exploited 
the modesty and the primitive mien of the church, but as the brick 
college and monastery increasingly dwarfed the house of God, the 
bishop decided it was necessary to acquire a more suitable structure. 
The current church — "our little cabin" — the abbot said, was little 
more than a "[bowling] alley"; it "is really a disgrace." 112 And so he 
embarked at the beginning of 1891, on an extended begging trip. 
"Never did I enter on a more distasteful work," he lamented with his 
usual hatred for solicitation, "and I would not do it for anything but a 
church in poor North Carolina." 113 It was, he said, "a very 
disagreeable outlook." 114 Haid began by approaching the other 
Benedictine monasteries in the country, 115 then traveled through the 

North. 1,6 His goal was to raise sufficient funds for a new, larger, 
wooden church that would last until a brick one could be afforded. 

The trip was not his most successful. Despite being absent for more 
than a month, he was constantly worrying about the classes he was 
missing and the overall problem of his subordination to poverty. 117 He 
was seeking only a few thousand dollars, enough to build only a 
modest church out of lumber. It would be "something like a decent 
church," 118 he said, though not what he wanted. But the money 
would not appear. The present church had again been outgrown, and 
the abbey "could not let the church go any longer." 119 Alone, 
however, he was powerless. The bishop returned to North Carolina 
without sufficient funds for a new frame-and-board church. He 
discovered, however, that in his absence, Father Felix had made 
other plans, anyway. 

The place where the permanent church was eventually to stand 
had been determined several years earlier. The "U" formed by the 
monastery-college was to balance this, the supreme structure, 
flanking it on both sides, with the monastery stretching behind. Its 
site was comfortably north of where the frame church stood, so the 
first would not have to be razed until the final building was ready for 
use. But Father Felix, determined that his abbot-bishop should have 
an appropriate western cathedral, had already decided that the 
permanent church should be constructed immediately. Finding his 
abbot returned without even enough money for a lesser edifice, and 
knowing the man as well as he did, the prior argued that the funds 
had not been supplied because the abbot was aiming at practicality 
over God's will. Hintemeyer told Haid to start building the grand 
brick church he really wanted, knowing he could not possibly meet 
the expense, but having the courage to trust God to provide. It was 
the kind of logic that always appealed to Haid — the same reasoning, 
indeed, that sparked his decision to have vicariate pastors do their 
own begging. As he had already resolved, "What success will attend 
my efforts I don't know— but I must try, praying God and our 
Blessed Lady to pity our poverty and help us." 120 

And so, at Hintemeyer's insistence, Leo Haid embarked on the 
construction of a sixty thousand dollar "cathedral," the largest 
Roman Catholic church in the state, with no earthly means of 
financing it. F. Dietrich of Detroit was architect; J.H. Thore of 
Charlotte was hired as the contractor. Saint Vincent would not give 
permission for Brother Wolfgang to go south; Saint John could not 
spare their builder, Brother Andrew, O.S.B., 121 so Brother Gilbert 
Koberzynski, age fifty-two, of Belmont, formerly an apprentice 
boatwright, coordinated the brothers' contribution to the building 

effort, working under Mr. Thore's management. Brother Charles 
Eckel took charge of executing the interior woodwork. On 9 
February 1892, the bishop contracted with Lentz and McKnight, a 
local partnership, to "deliver to site three hundred thousand good, 
smooth brick of exact size three by four by eight inches at four dollars 
per thousand." 122 Leo Haid was about to build a cathedral. 

Groundbreaking ceremonies, postponed from Saint Patrick's Day, 
were scheduled for the Solemnity of Saint Benedict, 21 March 1892. 
The Pontifical Mass of the day was celebrated at nine o'clock, and 
the bishop preached, taking as his theme the call to personal holiness 
in Benedict's Regula. A luncheon followed; then the monks, students, 
and guests reassembled in front of the frame church. 123 

For commencing work on the church there was a simple program. 
The party processed the several yards from the first church to the site 
of the new one, with the band, of course, leading the way. Bishop 
Haid dug the first shovelful for the foundation, then each of the 
monks followed. Next the guests were invited to ply the spade, and 
the Mount Holly News reported, "it was very amusing to see the 
ladies swinging the shovel, or rather attempting to do so." The 
students, who followed the guests, proved both more adept and 
enthusiastic at digging, and the whole affair acquired something of a 
festive air as the band played continuously through the ceremony. 124 
As had happened in 1886, with the College Building, the boys stayed 
at the site afterwards, sacrificing their free-day and games to work on 
the new building. The commitment had been made: Mary help 
Abbey, already in debt, was building its most expensive building ever, 
with available cash reserves of barely one hundred dollars. 

To bring the building to the attention of the public — and of 
potential donors— Hintemeyer volunteered to choreograph the 
laying of the cornerstone. This, he decided, would be as opulent a 
ceremony as the groundbreaking was subdued. Gibbons, 
unfortunately, was unavailable, 125 so once again Bishop Haid had to 
be the featured attraction and principal speaker. 

The activities surrounding the benediction of the cornerstone 
followed what by this time was the ordinary sequence for abbey 
celebrations. The preceeding evening featured a presentation by the 
college's dramatic association, at which the orchestra performed 
during the intermissions. 126 High Mass was held at mid-morning the 
next day. There was a luncheon. The special ceremony occupied the 
afternoon. And a Grand Illumination in the grotto (on some 
occasions replaced by another play) was presented in the evening. 127 

The church cornerstone ceremony was scheduled for 4 May 1892. 
The boys performed The Recognition on the third, assisted by the 


orchestra. Mass at half past nine the next morning was squeezed into 
what the Charlotte Chronicle called "the present little house of 
worship." 128 But the afternoon ceremonies featured the best 
Hintemeyer could arrange. 

Press coverage by this time was taken for granted. The Mount 
Holly newspaper even invited a regular column from the students, let 
the college author its own articles, then published them verbatim. In 
addition to the press, Hintemeyer had arranged for a special train to 
bring people to Belmont from as far away as Wilmington. 
Reportedly, several hundred made the trip, and met in front of the 
old church at half past three o'clock as the procession was forming. 129 

There was no more distance to be covered than at the 
groundbreaking, but this time there was not only a brass band, but 
banner-bearers to precede them; there were the several hundred 
guests, a full contingent from Sacred Heart, representatives of the 
clergy, the entire monastic community, and finally, of course, Leo 
Haid in full episcopal regalia. 130 At the site, the abbot performed the 
blessings, including the foundation, the place where the main altar 
would stand and finally the cornerstone itself. There he sang in Latin, 
"You are Peter," and the assembly responded, "And on this rock I 
shall build my church." 131 The stone — a granite block in which were 
carved a cross, motto, the date, and an eight by eight inch cavity for 
various papers, medals, and coins 132 — was then set in place, and the 
bishop ascended the dais to begin his address. 133 

The talk was uncommonly personal in tone, an indulgence of his 
own involvement which translated into a forum for ideas the bishop 
had failed to emphasize during the immediate past. He began by 
noting that only six years earlier he had laid his first cornerstone, and 
started work on the College Building. But this, the church, was his 
special dream, reaching now for fruition. He stated he wanted the 
liturgy to be performed here as it was nowhere else in the state, with 
grandeur, solemnity, and the full richness of the Catholic and 
Benedictine ceremonials. He wanted the students to hold in their 
hearts for years to come the beautiful liturgies that would take place 
here, and seminarians to imbibe a flavor of ritual that would inspire 
their whole lives in the ministry. These ambitions were important, 
but they did not represent what this building meant to him, however. 
For Leo Haid, the church was primarily and above all else the heart 
of his monastery. And to the assembled missionary clergy, the 
faithful who saw him primarily as a bishop, and to his own monks, 
Leo Haid clarified himself as well as his building. He said, 

But to me— a monk before I was either priest or bishop— this church is 
doubly dear because it will resound with the prayers of men dedicated 
wholly to God in the monastic state. Day after day, ere the sun gilds our 
mountain tops, the voice of prayer will be raised to God in this church; day 
after day when darkness and silence cover the earth the same voice will 
praise our good God! 

The abbot continued, 

Some people only love and value or tolerate monks for what they can do in 
active life— as tillers of the soil, learned men, artists, teachers and pastors of 
souls. I love them more for what they can do immediately for God— for 
their quiet lives of prayer and meditation. This is the first and greatest ideal 
striven after by those who founded them — by the Church who has 
nourished and loved them as her special, most dutiful children. If then all 
have reason to rejoice today, surely our joy — children of Saint Benedict that 
we are — should be greatest, because we know that our labor and prayers in 
erecting this abbey church will build a house of prayer especially for those 
whose lives are altogether dedicated to God. 

In conclusion the abbot made his usual commendation, summoning 
the protection of God, Saint Benedict, and the Blessed Mother. In 
particular he prayed, "May our dear Lady— to whom this Abbey and 
College are dedicated — our Lady, Help of Christians, be our help and 
stay in the work we have today begun." 134 If the monks of Belmont 
were still worried that their abbot planned to move them all from 
cloister to parish, this address should have arrested their fears. 

Typically, Father Felix had already quietly endorsed the abbot's 
sentiments. The document he included in the cornerstone ended with 
a prayer of its own, asking "that this church may become a perpetual 
monument of religion in these districts." 135 

The Grand Illumination at eight o'clock that same evening was in 
no way dwarfed by the opulence of the ceremonies that preceeded it. 
The orchestra and band led a torch-light procession to the grotto, 136 
where Chinese lanterns illuminated the whole cove. The crowd 
watched the colored lights reflected on the grotto. Then while the 
band continued playing, a giant balloon was released, and the people 
watched it drift toward Charlotte until nine thirty-five. 137 

There was an unexpected postscript to the evening, of which the 
crowd did not learn until later in the week. It seems that the Belmont 
festivities had incited a considerable stir in the Paw Creek section of 
Charlotte. As a local newspaper reported it, 

Disquiet and unrest prevailed in Paw Creek Wednesday night. About nine 
o'clock, some [people]. . .described a peculiar looking object in the field. 
Every now and then it would rise up from the earth and remain in the air a 

few minutes, and then "flop" back again. It was too dark for anyone to tell 
the size or manner of being of the remarkable thing, and the [citizens] soon 
became alarmed and began to raise a terrible commotion. 

The Paw Creek residents then armed themselves, only to be 
frightened away as the thing began advancing toward the 
reconnoitering party, presumably on the attack. Later, braver souls 
appeared and engaged in their own reconnaissance mission, only to 
discover the alien matter was nothing more than the remnant of the 
balloon the abbey had sent aloft the previous evening. 138 

Construction of the church was expected to last at least a year, 
during most of which time Hintemeyer acted as the local superior. 
The abbot was absent for his vicariate visitations and on 
Congregation business; there were begging trips and the mission to 
Rome. The new church in Charlotte was also under construction. 
But Hintemeyer kept all the work moving. When large trusses 
collapsed on the abbey's new church, causing serious damage to the 
recently constructed walls, Father Felix checked for injuries, 
surveyed the destruction, and ordered the work recommenced 
immediately. He was determined that this greatest monument to his 
abbot-bishop would not be thwarted. 

Actually, it was Leo Haid who seemed to be failing the project. In 
addition to the abbey's church and Saint Peter Church in Charlotte, 
he was also building the brothers' wing of the monastery, and by the 
summer of 1893, Abbot Leo returned from Rome to find that there 
was no more money. Rumors began spreading among the employees 
that work was soon to be halted, and it seemed, if only for the nonce, 
that Leo Haid's greatest monument was to stand uncompleted, its 
open shell testifying to failure rather than triumph. 

Francis Meyer, who by this time, his health restored, was the 
energetic, construction-minded pastor of Saint Peter Church, had 
acted while the bishop was in Rome to secure extra funds for the new 
Charlotte edifice. The abbot upon his return expressed pleasure with 
the priest's initiative and promptly informed Meyer's donor that he 
could "see no reason why I should not gratefully accept your 
generous offer." 139 The only condition on the gift was that the church 
include an appropriate number of pews for the exclusive use of 
blacks, 140 a requirement that enhanced the commitment already made 
by the bishop. Accordingly, after consultation with Fathers Felix and 
Francis, the abbot decided to approach this benefactor on behalf of 
his beleaguered abbey "cathedral", too. 

The gracious donor Father Francis had uncovered was Katharine 
Mary Drexel, a Philadelphia heiress. Katharine, who would turn 

thirty-five in 1893, was the second of three daughters born to 
Francis Anthony Drexel. A fabulously successful financier, Mr. 
DrexePs net residual estate was valued in 1885, after his death, at 
fifteen and a half million dollars. One-tenth of that was left to charity. 
The remainder was apportioned in the elaborate and rather famous 
Article VII of his will. This proviso allowed each daughter to draw 
income equally from the remaining principal, valued at 
approximately fourteen million dollars. And if, as proved the case, a 
daughter died without issue, the remaining sister(s) would divide the 
income each time equally. Elizabeth, the eldest sister, died without 
issue in 1890, leaving Katharine and Louise — a younger sister 
through Drexel's second wife— to divide the income from the 
fourteen million equally, so long as they should live to draw it. Louise 
died— without issue— in 1943, after which Katharine drew the full 
income. She managed to live and draw on her inheritance until 3 
March 1955, when at age ninety -seven she finally died — also without 
issue— and the fourteen million dollars was given to charity 
according to the dictates of her father's will, first probated seventy 
years before. 141 

Katharine had a decided religious bent, and after dealing with 
considerable objections, founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament 
for Indians and Colored People on 12 February 1 891 . From that time 
forward, her substantial income was devoted to the needs of Catholic 
Indians and negroes. Mother Katharine was a tough businesswoman, 
and one of the few people who could regularly outmaneuver Leo 
Haid at the bargaining table. But whether she was charging him the 
"extra fee" of preaching a "Crusade" for the Indian missions — as a 
condition for a fifteen hundred dollar gift for the Gastonia 
church 142 — or debating whether or not blacks really wanted to use the 
same churches as whites, 143 there was a bond of mutual respect in 
their correspondence that was surpassed only by her generosity. This 
1 893 bequest was the beginning of their long association. 

In later years, the famous Drexel "conditions," requiring separate 
pews for blacks in churches, were criticized, even to the point of 
suggesting that she and accomplices like Haid furthered segregation. 
For its time, however, such schemes for securing black admission to 
what would otherwise have been all-white churches, was considered 
daring, and in some places— Wilmington, North Carolina, in 
particular — proved inflamatory. In perspective, Katharine Drexel 
provided a far greater service than can be evaluated within the 
generous totals of her financial munificence. North Carolina was not 
anxious for even so modestly integrated a church as Mother 
Katharine required. But by the well-publicized "conditions" 

Katharine Drexel imposed when she helped build a church, leverage 
was given to people like Haid who sought to secure this relative racial 
unity, which he considered important — though often uncomfortable 
for people on both sides— for the Church. 

The bishop wrote Drexel on 24 June 1893. His proposal was that 
not only would pews be reserved for blacks, but he would close 
Belmont's Saint Benedict Church — converting it to a school— in 
order to insure integration. But the abbot also begged DrexeFs 
donation on the grounds of the larger effect that would follow on the 
bishop's own church inviting the presence of negroes. 

The Moral effect on the Catholics in North Carolina especially, and in 
other Southern States, would be a great gain. If the Benedictines at the 
Abbey and in Charlotte break down the ugly prejudices against Colored 
people — it would go far to enable the Bishop to insist on building all future 
churches large enough to make decent room for Colored people. This last 
reason seems to me the principal motive. There is no use in butting the head 
against the hard wall of prejudice— but we may climb over the wall or go 
around it slowly— especially by good example. 

There are other reasons — but let these suffice. . . .It would do my heart 
good to see some black faces there too — in the body of the church at that. 144 

Mother Katharine responded more generously than Leo Haid 
dared to expect. She offered four thousand dollars under the usual 
conditions. 145 The bishop executed a document on 1 July, affirming 
that the "Benedictine Fathers gladly [promise] to give the Colored 
Catholics the same care they bestow upon the Whites," and of course 
a row of pews in the body of the church. 146 Fittingly, the document 
was co-signed by Father Felix on behalf of the monastic Chapter. 

Work on the church never had to stop. Mother Drexel sent a check 
for the whole amount on 16 October, 147 a full three months ahead of 
schedule. Haid responded, 

I was made very happy by your great kindness, as I can now finish the 
church, and hope to have the First Pontifical High Mass in it December 
eighth which I will offer to God for you and your Community. May God 
reward you all! I do hope that after we again unite the Colored people we 
will have greater fruits to be grateful for. 141 

Construction delays kept Haid from meeting that schedule, 
unfortunately, but he did offer Mass for Mother Drexel that day, 
even though the setting was "the dear old Cabin [church]." Finally on 
Sunday, 17 December, the bishop offered the first Mass in the (still 
unfinished) new Church of Maryhelp. His intention for the Sacrifice 
covered not only Katharine Drexel, but all the building's 
benefactors. 149 Immediately, the abbot's mind turned to the blessing 

of the church. He managed to secure Cardinal Gibbons for the 
ceremony, then conveyed the whole affair — including the 
appointments for the interior of the edifice — into the waiting hands 
of the real father of the brick church, Felix Hintemeyer. 

Leo Raid's new "cathedral" was only about one hundred twenty- 
five feet in length, but with its rugged facade of hand-pressed brick 
and Carolina granite trim, its towers and spires of one hundred fifty 
and one hundred feet, surmounted by Celtic and filigree crosses, the 
building stood in dramatic contrast with the fields and farmlands that 
composed its vista. The monks had not only built the largest Catholic 
church in the state; they had built the most resplendent, as well. 

The final form of the church did lack some of the ornamentation 
Haid had wanted. For example the abbot-bishop had quietly delayed 
the purchase of new Stations of the Cross, merely translating the ones 
from the frame chapel. 150 But all the essentials had been provided in 
some form, and reflected the rather Florentine tastes of the prior. 

The church 131 was a modified Gothic-Revival structure, brick with 
granite trim. Designed in the form of a Latin Cross, its length was 
divided into eight bays with a width roughly equal to two. The front 
featured a granite arch, surmounted by a large tracery window. There 
were projecting front corner towers, one about fifty feet higher than 
the other; each had an octagonal belfry and a spire. The higher tower, 
at the southwest corner, included the bells and was intended to 
symbolize the active apostolate of the monks. The "quiet" tower, 
lower in heigh and lacking bells, represented the monks' hidden life of 
monastic prayer. Exterior ornamentation consisted of pinnacles, 
buttresses, and trim. The most serious stylistic deviation in the 
cruciform structure was the squared eastern end, where an apse 
would have been more appropriate. 

The interior of the church, at an elevation of four steps, was 
entered by massive wooden doors with iron 'frogs'. The arched ceiling 
was painted light blue, and covered with gold fleurs-de-lis. The 
sanctuary, another three steps higher, was bordered by a gilt railing of 
butternut. A luxurious crimson carpet covered the center aisle and 
pointed the visual line toward the main altar. In the sanctuary, on the 
north wall, was an episcopal throne, twenty-six feet in height, 
approached by three oak steps. The throne's canopy of oak and gilt 
was topped with a spire ascending almost to the ceiling. Padding was 
deep burgundy. The main altar, and this too was of gilt oak, stood 
thirty-six feet in height and included three niches, with blue ceilings 
dotted with stars. Father Joseph Jessing, an orphanage priest in 
Columbus, Ohio, furnished the woodwork. 

The main altar featured at its highest pinacle an arresting statue of 
Maryhelp in support of the Christchild. The Catholic Mirror singled 
out the image for its "delicate beauty." 152 Maryhelp was flanked by 
images of Saints Joachim and Anne. Scholastica and Benedict had 
altars to the side. The Saint Joseph altar in the left transept had 
statues of Joseph, Augustine of Canterbury and Edward the 
Confessor. The baptismal font stood nearby. An altar dedicated to 
the Sacred Heart dominated the right transept, with statuary images 
of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Aloysius Gonzaga, and Rose of Lima. 

Seating in the nave was divided by three aisles. There were two 
gothic confessionals of polished oak, Undoubtedly. . .enumerated 
among the handsomest in the South," according to a Washington, 
D.C., newspaper, the Church News. 1 " 

In the choir stood a pipe organ by A.B. Felgemaker, of Erie, 
Pennsylvania. It had a white oak case, and its thirty-three pipes were 
decorated with bronze and gold. The instrument had two manuals 
and twenty-five stops and couplers. 

But the crown of the church was its extraordinary windows. 154 
Measuring five by eighteen feet, and designed as gothic arches, they 
contributed a striking, rich luster to the interior of the church. Four 
single-figure windows by Schneider of Ratisbon, Bavaria, decorated 
the transepts. But the main body and the chancel featured ten 
windows from the Royal Bavarian Establishment of Francis Mayer 
and Company in Munich. Mayer's artistry, shown at the Columbian 
Exhibition, the World's Fair in Chicago, had taken four gold medals 
for the manufacturer in 1893. 155 That display had included windows 
destined for North Carolina and other parts of the country. 

Each of the two hundred eighty dollar windows 156 for Belmont 
featured a single saint in the center light, with ornamentation in the 
side panels. Not really stained glass, they were painted, in the manner 
of much of the European glass at the time, with pigments that were 
fused with the host surface by a heating process, making them 
portraits on glass, and far more life-like than ordinary American work 
of the period. The efforts of different artists were obvious in the 
renderings. The renaissance styling in the hands of Saint Maurus 
contrasted with the gloved, quasi-Byzantine effect of Saint Anselm. 
The best windows were the richly embellished Saint Patrick, 
featuring magnificent detail in the face and robes, plus a depth of 
color that was unsurpassed; and the Saint Placid window, an 
engaging study with a powerful and provocative face set off by an 
undetailed cloak that seemed almost unfinished. The Saint Leo the 
Great window, copied from the designs Mayer executed for the 
Vatican as a gift for Pope Leo XIII, was of special interest, also, 

although its parallel, Saint Gregory, was more perfectly rendered. 

The windows were positioned with Gertrude opposite the 
monastery's secondary patroness, Saint Walburga. Saint Patrick 
(most local Catholics around Belmont were of Irish lineage) faced 
Saint Boniface (apostle to the Germans, and thus to the forefathers of 
most of the monks); Anselm (patron of Benedictine schools) gazed 
across at Bernard (for Benedictine prayer). Popes Saint Leo (the 
abbot's patron) and Gregory (the first Benedictine pontiff) stared at 
one another, as did Saint Benedict's disciples, Maurus and Placid. 
The Schneider windows placed Martin of Tours and John the Baptist 
(to whose honor Saint Benedict had built chapels) at the Joseph altar, 
and the Guardian Angels (as patrons of the American Cassinese 
Congregation) and Saint Michael the Archangel (as patron of 
Belmont's grandmother house and of the baptismal consecration of 
the abbot and prior) on either side of the Sacred Heart altar. 

The Gothic-Revival church of Leo Haid was further accentuated 
by its placement on the grounds. The buildings that would frame it 
were not yet completed, but the expanse of lawn on either side 
already lent a natural definition to the space. The bricks united the 
structure with its surroundings, and the elevation of the ground 
combined with the spires— which made effective use of the contrast 
in a square tower, beneath an octagonal base, that ascended to a 
perfect point surmounted by a cross— enthroned the new church as 
the focal point not just of the cloister and campus, but of the 
surrounding countryside. 

The blessing of the Abbey Church of Maryhelp was described in 
the press as "a fair and grand day— a day ever [to live] in the Catholic 
history of the South." 157 Even rain could not restrain Hintemeyer on 
this occasion. He simply ordered the sisters and young ladies at 
Sacred Heart to start praying for sunshine. The prior was so excited 
as the time of the blessing approached, that he absentmindedly left 
poor Father O'Connell, only a few months from his death and 
already enfeebled by this time with a "trembling palsy in the head," 158 
standing out in the rain, 159 waiting to offer his welcoming speech at 
the abbey, while the Cardinal was being awaited at the depot. 

Father Felix had arranged a special railroad car— a "train de 
luxe"— for Monday evening, 9 April 1894, to bring James Cardinal 
Gibbons to Belmont for the dedication. The train stopped in 
Charlotte the next morning, where the Cardinal had breakfast with 
Doctor Denis O'Donoghue, the wealthiest Catholic in the area and 
an old acquaintance. At one o'clock the Gibbons entourage reached 
the abbey. And despite the inclement weather — "the very bowels of 
the clouds seemed to empty themselves" 160 (the effort at Sacred Heart 

did not succeed until the following day)— the festivities began. 

As usual, the preliminary celebration began with a play. An all 
male cast of Abbeymen presented Saint Caecelia . The dramatis personae 
included two future priests of the vicariate, 161 two future monks of the 
abbey, 1 ? and a future abbot of Mary help. 163 

On 1 1 April 1894, the feast of Saint Leo, the abbot's patron, with 
the proud ladies of Sacred Heart reportedly beaming as brightly as 
the sun they had summoned, the dignitaries and people assembled for 
the dedication of the Abbey Church of Maryhelp of Christians. 
Though admission to the church required a ticket, Haid had 
distributed his invitations generously, and the building was filled to 
capacity. The ceremonies progressed smoothly, however, as Gibbons 
performed the blessing, and Haid officiated at the Mass. The choir 
sang Mozart— the abbot even permitted a choir of "mixed" 
voices — and Father Ganss, a Pennsylvania priest imported for the 
occasion, 164 presided at the Felgemaker console. 

Cardinal Gibbons preached that day, reminding all assembled that 
he had chosen the Benedictines for this site in North Carolina. He did 
not mention that he had done so only after the Redemptorists had 
turned him down. 

The frame chapel had been demolished before the Cardinal 
reached Belmont, and the new church, only one hundred twenty-five 
feet in length, and fifty feet wide, may have seemed less imposing 
without the comparison. But the memory of the frame structure, 
once dubbed "the poorest cathedral in the world," was a reminder to 
the Benedictine monks of the generosity of Providence and 
Katharine Drexel. If the abbot was not pleased with the new church, 
he concealed that fact. 

The blessing was a grand day for Leo Haid. And through 
Hintemeyer's efforts it was witnessed by people from throughout the 
state, brought to Belmont like the Cardinal on special trains. Bishop 
Northrop also attended, as did Archabbot Leander (Saint Vincent), 
Abbots Alexius (Saint John), Innocent (Saint Benedict), Hilary (Saint 
Mary), and Benedict (Saint Bernard). At half past one, the prelates 
enjoyed a festive meal, followed by the play Saint Walburga, performed 
by an all female cast at the girls' academy. 165 The dignitaries dined 
that evening at Sacred Heart. 

The next morning, the Cardinal had breakfast with the boys, who 
were so excited by his condescension that they followed his carriage 
to the limits of the campus when he departed. His Eminence cracked 
a rather classical joke about the Greek calends, and as he disappeared 
down the road toward Belmont, one of the boys belatedly realized the 
Cardinal had just given them a free-day. For once they did not spend 

it in construction work. 

Haid made few changes in his church during the years of his reign. 
Not until 1896 did he even succeed in erecting new Stations of the 
Cross. The ones he finally acquired stood six feet three inches when 
framed. Executed in bas relief, they featured tender images in 
subdued colors. Though undistinguished artistically, they were 
particularized by the sensitivity of their subjects. The eighth Station, 
in which Christ turned to the ladies of Jerusalem to give his blessing, 
was the most notable of the images. 

In 1897, at the prior's suggestion, Haid hired A J 7 . Sauerwald of 
Richmond to add "frescoes", but on the whole the abbot did not 
tamper with the structure. Only Felix Hintemeyer made changes, 
slowly accumulating donations of vessels and candalabra of gold and 
silver, and vestments of silk and velvet. To Hintemeyer, nothing was 
too good for Leo Haid. 

Saint leo, flomda 

The missions in Florida, more than five hundred miles from the 
abbey, were always treated with abstraction by Abbot Leo. He had 
heard the old myth that the state was merely floating, and would 
some day break loose from the panhandle. Eventually," he mused, 
"Florida will no doubt float to North Carolina— as that is the opinion 
I generally hear." 166 Until it did float away, however, the abbot used it 
as a place to send infirm monks. He invited Saint John Abbey to send 
consumptive clerics there, too, 167 and Haid sent his own weaker 
members, like Meinrad Buechling 168 and Lawrence Wiegand, 169 there 
for reasons of serious infirmity. Another monk, Alphonse Conrad 
Metzger, died at the Florida monastery in a rifle accident. 170 

The territory given by Bishop Moore to the Benedictines had 
originally been accepted by Boniface Wimmer, who in his last 
months offered this most distant of southern missions to Leo Haid. 
But the archabbot's death delayed the official transfer. Andrew 
Hintenach, the second archabbot of Saint Vincent, re-endorsed the 
idea after assuming his throne, and asked Abbot Leo and the Chapter 
at Belmont to accept responsibility for the Florida work as soon as 
possible. As a bonus, Father Gerard Pilz, O.S.B., who was the chief 
Benedictine missionary in Florida, asked to transfer his stability to 
Maryhelp, as an alternative to abandoning his work. He had founded 
the Benedictine mission there, and by transferring his stability to the 
new proprietor, he insured some measure of continuity in the 
administration of the parishes. But in the summer of 1888, Haid's 

episcopal consecration was the primary concern, with the Walter 
Leahy affair in close competition; these conspired with Florida's 
yellow fever epidemic, which inhibited travel. Finally all these factors 
were joined by an unfortunate encounter with poison ivy — which 
"disfigured [Haid] beyond recognition" — so that the abbot resigned 
himself to submitting the proposed acceptance of the Florida 
missions to his Chapter before even going south to see the place. 
Nevertheless, on 10 October 1888, the Belmont capitulars accepted 
the Florida missions, "with all the bonus and onus," and the transfer 
of Father Gerard. The abbot advised Pennsylvania of the Chapter's 
decisions, and Belmont found itself in possession of its third 
dependency. 171 

Acquiring the services of Gerard Pilz ranked among the more 
propitious aspects of the new endeavor. Father Gerard, at age fifty- 
four, was one of the most respected monks of the archabbey. A 
Bavarian native, he had been trained as an artist, and Wimmer had 
even sent him for advanced studies in Munich. Pilz was a gifted 
speaker, too, and had published a volume of sermons. Wimmer had 
also given him experience as a missionary and administrator. Pilz was 
prior of the New Jersey monastery when it was promoted to the rank 
of an abbey. After that he was assigned to the priory in Chicago, 
where on 12 April 1886, he received an invitation to enter the 
mission fields of Florida. Boniface Wimmer apparently had not 
responded to Bishop Moore's letter of 1 February, so the Ordinary of 
Saint Augustine wrote directly to Pilz, who he hoped would be 
Wimmer's candidate for the work anyway. 172 The archabbot sent 
Father Gerard to Florida, and Saint Vincent acquired its valuable 
mission territory there. Pilz, assisted by Cyprian Creagh and Brother 
Francis Zwiesler, soon added a school to his responsibilities, achieved 
the bishop's approval for erecting a permanent Benedictine 
foundation, and instigated the territorial donation of 1887. 173 

No sooner was this venerable monk and gifted administrator 
incorporated into Maryhelp, however, than he found himself 
immersed in scandal. A county commissioner, it seemed, had 
observed the priest on the previous 10 August in the company of a 
postulant for the sisters. The official "accused [them] of sinning in a 
buggy on the road side." By November, word of the incident had 
spread and become general knowledge. Legal action against Father 
Gerard was even being considered. 174 

Haid was greatly alarmed and left North Carolina immediately for 
Florida. Concerned also that the story should not surface at the 
abbey, he sent his communications with Bishop Moore first to 
Pennsylvania, where Hintenach posted the missives to Saint 

Augustine. Abbot Leo explained, "I don't want too many letters to go 
out from me," as that might create suspicions at Belmont. 175 Although 
the charges of impropriety proved to have been greatly exaggerated, 
the notoriety and its effect on Pilz's nerves and reputation required 
the priest's removal. He was sent to make an extended retreat with 
Father Joseph, 176 and then assigned to teaching duties at the abbey. 
Belmont's prior, Father Roman, took over the work in Florida, thus 
occasioning the promotion of Father Felix to the prior's office at the 
abbey. After investigating the situation in Florida, Haid surmized 
that Father Gerard's work had been destroyed for no greater reason 
than his having "made enemies and give[n] them whips with which to 
punish him! How mercifully people treat their priests," he lamented. 
"I am getting so used to storms breaking out somewhere that I am 
getting used to them." !77 

The gentleman who had expanded the Commissioner's complaint 
and village scuttlebutt into a cause celebre was himself no stranger to 
controversy, and he would continue for the next few years to be a 
thorn and a drain on the resources of Leo Haid. He was Edmund 
Francis Dunne. 178 A New York native, just one year younger than 
Father Gerard, he had gone to California as a young man and studied 
law. During the Civil War he moved to Nevada where he eventually 
became a District Judge. In 1874, he entered a brief tenure as Chief 
Judge of the Territorial Court at Tucson. Amid various, and mostly 
unresolved factors (of an unpleasant nature), President Grant 
apparently relieved the judge of the burdens of his office. Through 
his wife, Josephine Cecelia Warner, of the Vicksburg gentry, there 
was some money at the judge's disposal, and with his children, of 
whom there were at least four, he relocated randomly in search of 
opportunity. He acquired through the years a reputation for "Irish 
intransience" and for being "a militant Irish Catholic." 179 But from his 
religious interests he won a Knighthood of Saint Gregory from Pius 
IX, and Leo XIII created him a Papal Count. 180 

Good fortune finally visited Dunne in 1881 . As the judge told the 
story, the state of Florida, in order to retire its considerable debt, had 
determined to sell fifteen million acres of land. Hamilton Disston of 
Philadelphia agreed to purchase four million acres, and chose Judge 
Dunne to act as his representative in selecting which four million 
acres he would take. As his payment, Dunne was given the right to 
any section of up to fifty thousand acres he desired from the four 
million he purveyed for Disston. In this way, the Count, as Haid liked 
to call Dunne, became the principal land owner in the area of San 
Antonio, Florida. He used his land to establish a "Catholic 
Colony." 181 It was because of this concentrated Catholic 

population — in 1883 there were about one hundred thirty 
colonists 182 — that Bishop Moore invited a Benedictine missionary to 
journey southward. 

As a federal judge, Papal Knight, Count of the Apostolic Palace, 
and the trusted representative of Disston, Dunne's business dealings 
must have seemed above question. And Moore, Haid, and the 
colonists recognized the judge as a generous benefactor of religion in 
the South. He had reserved a section of land totaling more than thirty 
acres for the Benedictines, 183 and Haid was enthusiastic about 
accepting it and redesigning the Benedictine parish commitment into 
a monastery and college. The land fronted on a sink hole, but 
included a right-of-way to Clear Lake, 184 and was picturesque and 
presumably to be of future value. Haid accepted the land, and later 
built there the monastery — originally called "Saint Benedict", but 
finally known by the school's name, "Saint Leo", in honor of Leo 

On 18 October 1888, Bishop Haid and Judge Dunne entered a 
legal agreement, whereby in return for one hundred thousand square 
feet of land in San Antonio, about three acres with potential as a 
lemon grove, Maryhelp agreed to educate the two Dunne sons, 
Eugene 185 (who styled himself a Papal Viscount) and Brian 186 (who 
was apparently resigned to being the commoner of the family). The 
agreement was to run for a period not to exceed twelve years, 
covering all expenses attendent to education and living, except 
clothing and pocket money. 187 It was an expensive bargain, as Brian 
took the full regular studies, and the "viscount" not only completed 
the ordinary educational program, but decided on a Master's as well. 
Considering that the land had reportedly cost the Count only a dollar 
and a half, or fifty cents per acre, he made a substantial profit. But 
Saint Leo Priory, which acquired the property upon receipt of 
canonical independence, enjoyed the greatest benefits, obtaining 
valuable land in the city of San Antonio, while Maryhelp was left 
with the bills for the education of Eugene and Brian Dunne. 

The other business transaction between the abbot and the judge 
ended less cordially. Dunne's ambitions for hosting, and selling land 
to at least a thousand, Catholic colonists were slowly disintegrating as 
dissatisfied customers, led by a retired naval officer, leveled charges of 
varying degrees of fraud in an increasingly vociferous manner. 188 His 
personal finances exhausted by the slump in business, the Count 
appealed, around 1890, to Leo Haid for a loan of three thousand 
dollars, for up to three years at eight per cent interest. Already fleeced 
once, and wary of the dealings in which Dunne engaged, the bishop 
insisted on proper collateral. Finally the loan was arranged, 

apparently in the form of a mortgage on the one hundred acres the 
judge had reserved in the colony for his own home. 189 During the next 
three years, the parties differed over the details of their agreement, 
but when the loan went unpaid, Abbot Leo was forced to act 
anyway. At first he refused to employ the courts, lest a bishop suing a 
Count of the Holy See should create scandal. Dunne, however, was 
not only declining to pay his debts, he was also allowing the 
mortgaged land to ruin. Accordingly, Haid, after consulting with 
Saint Leo and with the Maryhelp Chapter, decided early in 1 893 to 
foreclose on the property. The monks were not the first party to 
make that decision, however. A firm in West Virginia, due to the 
judge's debts in that state, already had a lien on the land. The 
Benedictines, it was explained, had to pay Dunne's prior debt in order 
to take possession of the acreage in satisfaction of his more recent 
dissolvency. 190 

In the meantime, George B. Williams, a former student, claimed to 
have heard the full story of Dunne's supposed business irregularities 
in a classroom lecture delivered by Father Charles. Williams told the 
viscount; Eugene told Edmund; and the Count began threatening the 
Florida prior with "terrible looking documents" that demanded a 
public apology, and held out the probable exaction of pecuniary 
compensation unless restitution were made freely. Father Charles 
asked the abbot, who by this time was totally infuriated with the 
Count, to remain aloof. The prior then enlisted the aid of a friend 
who sat on the bench in Tampa, and this man succeeded in quieting 
Dunne. 191 The monks executed the foreclosure, and severed all 
association with Judge Edmund Francis Dunne. 192 

The abbot of Belmont was greatly impressed by the service 
rendered by Father Charles in the Dunne affair. That, the undeniable 
progress of the Florida work, and the fact that the Catholic Colony of 
San Antonio was causing a seemingly endless succession of crises, led 
Haid to consider promoting the house to canonical independence. It 
was not yet ready to be an abbey, but he thought it could stand as an 
autonomous monastery with the rank of a priory. 

At the core of Saint Leo's prospects was Charles Mohr. Though 
only thirty years old in 1893, he was experienced in pastoral work, 
teaching, and administration. He had not rated particularly high in 
the bishop's esteem until recently, however. He had been assigned to 
parish work, then to Florida mostly because of his delicate health. 
Indeed, the abbot's first choice for establishing the Saint Leo Military 
College had been a New Jersey monk, Father Frederick Hoesel, 
O.S.B. This thirty-nine year old priest had been loaned to the Florida 
missions by Saint Mary Abbey. On his way to Florida in July of 


1889, Hoesel stopped at Maryhelp to discuss with Bishop Haid the 
proposed foundation. While at Belmont, however, a hemorrhage of 
the lungs cut short his life. The next year Charles Mohr was 
transferred to Florida to take charge of the newly erected school that 
was to have been Father Frederick's responsibility. Under Father 
Charles' administration, the school was self-sustaining at the end of 
its first term. 193 At least two years earlier than expected, 194 in 1 890, the 
priory was already strong. 195 In 1891 choral recitation of the Divine 
Office was instituted, and the bishop was boasting of his "Baby," all 
of whose "running expenses are paid, and besides many 
improvements made. I am quite satisfied so far," he said. 196 

Haid decided, as abbot of the monastery's motherhouse and as 
praeses of its Congregation, to petition for the independence of Saint 
Leo Priory. The praeses also decided to request the appointment of 
Charles Mohr as the first conventual prior, a decision later ratified by 
vote of the capitulars in Florida. Originally, the petition was to be 
submitted in the spring, after the close of the school term. In January, 
Mohr almost blocked the effort, however, by tendering his 
resignation. 197 The abbot was able to dissuade him, fortunately, and 
the effort for autonomy began in earnest soon thereafter, before 
further problems could arise. 

The formal petition was finally sent to Rome on 28 June 1894, 
requesting erection of Saint Leo as a conventual priory, with Charles 
Mohr as superior. A term of five years was recommended, at the end 
of which the praeses believed 198 a petition for abbatial status might be 
made. Bishop Moore wrote an enthusiastic endorsement of the 
Benedictine effort in Florida. 199 Fathers Roman, Charles, Benedict, 
James Schabacher, and Louis Panoch, and Brothers Thomas, 
Anthony, Gerard, and Leander asked to transfer their vows to the 
new priory. 200 Rome granted their petition without problem in mid- 
September. 201 Two weeks later the documents were in hand. 202 

As father of the new monastery, Leo Haid wrote the Abbot 
Primate, "the new Priory promises to become an honor to our Order. 
May God's blessing always rest on it." 203 In only nine years at 
Maryhelp Leo Haid had brought honors and achievements to his 
monastery that surpassed even the boldest of expectations. And he 
need not be faulted for boasting of his first daughterhouse. But these 
had not been halcyon years, and the progress had left scars and cast 
the frame of future conflicts. Even with Saint Leo promoted to 
independence, Maryhelp was left in 1894 with dependencies in 
Georgia and Virginia, nine counties in North Carolina, and scattered 
missions beyond that territory; there were schools at Saint Mary's 

and Maryhelp; there were impressive new buildings and a sizable 

By this time, however, Abbot Leo had settled into a pattern of 
diversity and over-commitment that would mark the remainder of his 
career and the future of his abbey. His popularity and his prestige, 
both in Rome and America, did not translate as security but as a 
challenge. Even when the opportunity arose for consolidating his 
efforts, focusing his monks, and insuring the status of his monastery 
and its charges, he fell back repeatedly on the crutch of activity. In 
founding monasteries, he believed, the monks of Maryhelp would 
always be focused on Benedictine values and not fall into the 
allurement of purely clerical commitments. Thus even as Saint Leo 
left the embrace of Belmont, a new dependency in another state was 
already being designed. 

ChapteR V: 

the Imton Legacy 

Canonical independence bestows autonomy on a monastery. Thus 
even though Saint Leo acquired its independence not as an abbey, 
but with the rank of a priory, its separation from the North Carolina 
monastery meant that, for affairs of the cloister and apostolates, 
permissions or approvals from Mary help were no longer a necessity. 
Similarly, the Belmont motherhouse no longer had to supply monks, 
teachers, monies — other than educating the Dunne boys— or 
supervise the conduct of the monastery, school, and parishes in 
Florida. Independence allowed the daughterhouse to establish its 
own customary and to particularize its observance and identity. For 
the founding abbey, it was a time to reemphasize the work within its 
own cloister, and to breathe quietly while rebuilding its manpower 
after the loss of the monks — in this case nine in number—who had 
transferred their stability to the new canonical priory. 

Since Belmont, though a small abbey, was already staffing Saint 
Mary in Richmond, the foundation in Savannah, the nine counties in 
North Carolina, random parishes in the vicariate, and the schools, 
there would have been no stigma attached to a comfortable period of 
inertia, or of reconstituting and strengthening the resources of the 
monastery. But Leo Haid, drawing his example from the 
expansionism of Boniface Wimmer, had already determined the site 
and character of his next venture, even before Saint Leo was 


officially released. Haid liked the function beginning monasteries 
could fill in keeping monks focused on the principles of the Regula. So 
even though this new project was not an opportunity the abbot had 
sought, once the invitation appeared there was never any doubt but 
that Leo Haid was anxious to negotiate acceptable terms. 

The new foundation was the first major fruit of Bishop Haid's 
growing reputation in America. Sister Mary Baptista Linton, of the 
Georgetown convent of the Visitation Nuns, selected Maryhelp as 
the recipient of her largesse on the recommendation of friends who 
had heard of the abbot-bishop, and the intriguing eclat that attended 
his reputation and image. Linton and Haid had never met, but the 
donation at Sister Baptista's disposal was of sufficient magnitude that 
she had no difficulty winning the abbot's attention. 

The Lin tons were descended from English nobility. Having fallen 
from favor when their support of Charles I culminated in the loss of 
that monarch's head, they— and a good deal of their fortune— took 
refuge in Scotland. Unfortunately, the absence of court life proved a 
bore for succeeding generations, so around 1760, several of the 
Linton descendants decided to move to America, where land was 
inexpensive, plantations were seats of fashion and aristocratic 
indulgences, and where misfortunes of the past would not impede the 
privileges of their class. Among those who left Scotland for the New 
World were William and Moses Linton, brothers. 1 

Moses settled in northern Virginia, where he purchased at least 
two plantations. In Prince William County, near the land that would 
later be designated the District of Columbia, he established his 
permanent residence, and had a proper manor house constructed. 2 
The Lintons survived the American Revolution with their fortunes 
intact, and thrived in the newly created independent nation. 
However, the marsh land that surrounded "Lintonsford," as the 
estate came to be known, was less kind than the economy, and strains 
of malaria began to afflict the heirs. Moses* grandson, John 
Augustine Elliot Linton, was among those who fell victim to the 
fever, and the estate, which by antebellum times had grown to nearly 
two thousand acres, finally passed to John Augustine's only son, 
John Tyler Linton. 3 More land came to the family, but their fortunes 
were otherwise destined to decline. 

In this heir, John Tyler, the Lintons had a man of unusual promise. 
He was young, vigorous; he held a degree in law, and had married 
well, taking the beautiful Cecilia Graham as his wife. With her at his 
side, Linton assumed command of Lintonsford, and a golden age 
seemed in the offing for the family. But John Tyler too fell prey to 
malaria. It seemed at first he would recover, but consumption 

complicated his problems, and at age twenty-six he lay dead, leaving 
Cecilia alone to run the estate, at age twenty-three. The young widow 
Linton was pregnant at her husband's passing, and soon after, on 12 
January 1822, gave birth to their child, a girl, named Sarah Elliot 
Linton. 4 

Unable to handle the burden of the plantation, widowhood, and 
her maternity, Cecilia yielded, before even a year had elapsed, to the 
entreaties of Lintonsford's overseer, R.H. Phillips, and wed the 
employee. But at age twenty-four, Cecilia Graham Linton Phillips 
was, for the second time, a widow, pregnant, and the administrator of 
the estate. Once again her bereavement was interrupted by the birth 
of a daughter, this one being named Anne Cecilia Phillips. 5 

Mrs. Linton-Phillips' brother served as guardian of the two 
children. Young Sarah developed as a lively, determined girl, 
intelligent and dominating. Anne was her balance, painfully shy and 
easily threatened. It was Mr. Graham's decision that Sarah should be 
sent to the exclusive boarding school in Georgetown, operated by the 
Visitation Nuns. She went reluctantly; nevertheless, her considerable 
talents were gradually channelled by the nuns into constructive 
employments, and she was graduated with distinction at age sixteen. 
Sarah had not, however, modified her willfullness during the years at 
Georgetown, and much to her family's chagrin she marked her return 
to Lintonsford with the announcement of her intention to embrace 
Roman Catholicism. Her uncle successfully forestalled her 
conversion for four years, but her determination had not dimmed as 
she approached her majority, and in 1842 she was baptized. 6 

To compound her family's anxiety, Sarah elaborated on her advent 
to Catholicism by proclaiming her desire to become a nun. Once 
again the young lady's intentions were not greeted warmly at home, 
but on 1 August 1844, Sarah took up residence with the Visitation 
Nuns at Georgetown. She was received into the Order on 2 October 
1844, and professed the vows of religion on 21 November 1845. 
Henceforth she was a vowed Catholic nun, Sister Mary Baptista 
Linton, V.H.M. 7 

Lintonsford did not prosper after Sarah's departure. Mrs. Phillips 
and Anne built a smaller house for themselves on another part of the 
property, but soon after its completion Cecilia died. The original 
mansion burned, then the second house. After the Civil War, Miss 
Anne Phillips found herself among the land poor, and in consultation 
with her much stronger sister, the painful process of dissecting the 
Lintonsford plantation, and selling parcels as separate farms began. 8 
Of course, Sister Baptista, secure in her convent home, and indeed 
distinguishing herself in Visitation convent assignments in various 

localities, did not really share the anguish of her half-sister's 
penurious spinsterhood. She did, however, experience the pain that 
attended the vivisection of the Linton heritage and her father's 

In the early 1890's, reportedly after reading Montalembert's Monks 
of the West, Sister Baptista conceived a plan that would keep the 
remainder of the Linton lands intact, and secure for the family home 
a future of honorable use. If Benedictines accepted the estate, she 
reasoned, and established there an educational and charitable 
enterprise, supporting themselves as mediaeval tradition dictated by 
farming, Lintonsford would suffer no more dismemberment. The 
greatest obstacle to the plan lay not in securing religious to accept the 
property, but in obtaining for Miss Anne a sufficient endowment to 
cover her remaining years. Phillips, who had also become Catholic, 
was willing to endorse her sister's dream, but this timid maiden lady 
had very reasonable fears regarding her own well-being. 9 

The manner in which Miss Anne's dilemma was resolved remains 
mysteriously shrouded. An anonymous benefactor appeared, offering 
Phillips an annuity, reportedly fifteen hundred dollars. 10 There were 
rather unusual conditions on the gift, however, which resulted in the 
supposition that Sister Baptista, through one of her many contacts, 
had arranged her sister's good fortune. In return for the annuity that 
would endow her remaining years, there was to be no violation of the 
sanctity of the benefactor's identity; no contracts or other legal 
devices were to document the gift, and Lintonsford was to be 
consigned to trustees who would settle the future of the land 
according to the wishes of Linton and Phillips. 11 Miss Anne agreed, 
and henceforth received in biannual installments, issued by a bank in 
Baltimore, her regular support. 12 With the creation of the trust, Sister 
Baptista, her vows notwithstanding, directed the future of 

Sadly, despite her income, Miss Anne Phillips did not find 
happiness in her declining years. After Sister Baptista died in 1901, 
the spinster had no dominant force to guide her business dealings. In 
1903 , Miss Anne summoned her courage and purchased two tracts of 
land, one of a hundred four and a half acres and the other of thirty- 
two, that had been sold as small farms in the postbellum years. 13 Here 
she planned to spend her remaining days. But her insecurity and poor 
business sense quickly drove her to accept the hospitality of a woman 
in Prince William County; supposedly, the hostess was a disreputable 
matron, who local gossip contended had killed her own father. A 
virulent anti-Catholic, the woman refused to let a priest on the 
property, and made every effort to debar Miss Anne from the 

sacraments. According to Julius Pohl, the hostess was "dosing that 
aged lady with castor oil and calomel." 14 Phillips finally passed out of 
her misery in the summer of 1 9 1 7 . She had lived for more than ninety 
unhappy years. Her one hundred thirty-six acres were left to the 
Benedictines. 15 

In 1893, Sister Baptista had retained M.J. Colbert of Washington 
as her attorney. She assigned him to draw up the trust for the 
remaining one thousand seven hundred thirty-six acres of 
Lintonsford, but she apparently did not intend to encourage either his 
advice or counsel. As trustees, the sister nominated Martin F. Morris, 
Imogen B. Lyons, and Nannie Lomax Green; 16 then she added the 
name of Emily V. Mason. 17 Selecting the trustees had apparently 
presented no major difficulties. It was the issue of the powers to be at 
the trustees' disposal that revealed to Colbert how exasberating Sister 
Baptista could be, the strength of her resolve and opinions, the 
invincibility of her will. Colbert's draft of the trust document, for 
example, included the power to sell land according to necessity. 
Baptista Linton demanded the removal of that clause. As she later 
told Haid, "I was inflexible." 18 Colbert pleaded his position even after 
the clause had been removed from the proposed document. 

I send you herewith the draft of the proposed agreement and deed 
concerning the Virginia lands. I have. . .stricken out the provision relating 
to the power of the Trustees to sell. I do this against my own better 
judgment. As the deed stands with this clause stricken out, there is no 
power on this earth, no matter how great the emergency may be, which will 
authorize any living human being to sell this property, prior to the 
incorporation [of the Benedictines in northern Virginia!, or one foot of it. 
But I yield to your wishes in the matter." 

Colbert's agrument was based on legal practicality, but Linton's 
sprang from the general experience of religious founders. She wrote 
Haid that Colbert 

insisted upon giving the Trustees the power of selling portions of the 
seventeen hundred acres for the benefit of the Schools. On this point, I was 
inflexible. . .My motive for resisting his judgment, was to secure the fee 
simple of seventeen hundred acres to the Benedictines after their 
incorporation, and not to risk sales that might, in the long future, be 
regretted. Again, I used this argument against yielding the fee simple to the 
Benedictines on the outset. Were they to solicit contributions from parties 
of wealth, these later might say— "sell your lands, and raise money"— If the 
Fathers can reply, we have no power to sell, until our schools are in 
working condition, and this condition we cannot attain without assistance, 
then the case is in favor of gratuitous contributions. 20 


Though Haid appreciated the sister's practicality, and though he in 
no way anticipated a situation such as had arisen with Judge Dunne, 
the abbot had legitimate reservations about committing himself to an 
enterprise before he held clear title to the lands at issue. He wanted a 
fee simple deed from the beginning; Sister Baptista — citing concern 
for Belmont's sake, not her own — thought that imprudent. 

Another factor that faced the bishop as he considered accepting 
Lintonsford was the conditions imposed on the recipient of the estate. 
Phillips (Linton) had instructed the trustees in the deed of 14 January 
1 893 , to find an Order willing to 

hold, manage and use the said land for the purpose of establishing thereon 
an industrial and training school for poor and friendless white boys and 
youths, and for the further purpose of establishing thereon a school for the 
training and education of poor and friendless white girls in habits of 
industry and virtue, and in learning useful occupations suitable to their 
condition of life, in such manner and under the direction and control of 
such religious or charitable order or organization as the said trustees may 
deem most suitable. 21 

Industrial schools were not considered the ideal work for a 
monastery. And since only one monk of Maryhelp, the abbot himself, 
held a commercial degree, the prospects for Belmont's success were 
slim. Nevertheless, Haid expressed immediate interest in the project 
in Prince William County. Sister Baptista received the bishop's 
favorable response on 21 March 1893, the feast of Saint Benedict, 
when "this dear Saint sent me as his love token" both the news of 
Belmont's interest and "a desperate attack of vertigo." 22 

Despite Maryhelp's willingness to undertake the Linton project, 
negotiations regarding the form of the deed caused a considerable 
delay. In company with Mother Edith, O.S.B., of the sisters in 
Richmond, the bishop visited Lintonsford that spring. The 
Benedictine women, it was hoped, would operate the girls' school, 
and both the monks and sisters wished to see the property before 
accepting this adventure at the hamlet of Bristow, near Manassas, 
Virginia. The trip north seems to have convinced the 
superiors — since they "were both of a pioneering spirit" — that the 
project was worthwhile. Thus the two superiors announced that the 
terms of the trust were accepted in principle. 23 

Two technical preliminaries had to be resolved before the actual 
commencement of the Benedictines' new schools, however. Curial 
approval from Rome was necessary, and a state charter had to be 
obtained before the trustees could execute the transferal of title. 

The prelude to securing the approval of the Holy See was a 
mandate from the monastic Chapter at Belmont for acceptance of the 

Bristow work and property. The abbot contacted the monks outside 
the monastery and won their endorsement of the project. Then, on 
29 March 1893, the Chapter of Maryhelp was convened. As Haid 
presented the offer, the monks were to receive seventeen hundred 
acres of land near Manassas, in fee simple. A moral, but not 
contractural, obligation accompanied the gift, whereby the monks 
were to operate an industrial school for boys. The bishop announced 
that he hoped the Benedictine sisters from Richmond would operate 
the desired companion school for girls. It was also mentioned that the 
monks would have to mortgage the property if insufficient donors 
were discovered who were willing to endorse the expense of starting 
the new school; after all, "with an empty purse little can be done," he 
said. Eight of the Belmont fathers attended the meeting. Haid did not 
vote. Of the others, six favored the new apostolate and one remained 
uncommitted. "The Bishop then stated that he would, on his visit to 
Rome, have all confirmed." 24 

Carrying with him the permission of both the monastic Chapter 
and the bishop of Richmond, in whose territory Bristow lay, the 
abbot-bishop met no friction in Rome. As Haid described the work in 
northern Virginia, it was promising, practical, and should advance 
the good of both the Church and its members. De Propaganda Fide 
endorsed the project, and on 20 June the Cardinal Prefect of 
Propaganda advised Abbot Leo that approval was "herewith 
graciously granted." The Holy See even accepted the proposed future 
erection of a college and academy on the site. 23 

Immediately thereafter the abbot moved to incorporate the Order 
in northern Virginia, so the land could be transferred and held. A 
charter for the Benedictine Society of Linton Place, Prince William 
County, Virginia, was issued on 1 August. It specified 

That the purpose for which the said company is formed are: The 
establishment and conduct of an industrial farm and school for the 
maintenance and education of youth in the arts and sciences and in the 
different branches of industrial and agricultural instructions. 26 

Only at this point, when the abbot thought he had fulfilled all the 
preliminaries for obtaining Lintonsford, did the painful encumbrance 
whose cloud would hang over the estate for years to come begin to 

Haid had insisted from the beginning that he was not interested in 
the Bristow project unless he received the indenture for the land 
through a fee simple deed. A clear title, free of encumbrance, was 
demanded, and in no way negotiable. As for the conditions imposed 

by Sister Baptista, Abbot Leo considered them to be moral in nature, 
not legal. They were accepted by Mary help as a moral obligation, but 
the abbot feared that if they were expressed in the deed, an 
unnecessarily precarious situation would be created, in which the 
monks' title to the property was sure to suffer future challenges. As 
Haid understood the matter, and thus as he presented it to his 
Chapter and to Rome, Sister Baptista and her trustees comprehended 
and accepted the abbot's adamantly held position. 27 He was greatly 
chagrined to find that, apparently, the sister thought that the conflict 
had been resolved according to her standards. And with the abbey 
having already sought and secured its various endorsements, 
approvals, and legal faculties, it was the Linton trustees, unofficially 
but truly at Sister Baptista's disposal, who held both the deed and the 
command of the situation. 

From this struggle over ownership of the land there emerges the 
real foundation of Bristow's importance in the history of Maryhelp 
and of Leo Haid. This priory was never among the abbey's more 
favored ventures; it was never even the object of much apostolic 
enthusiasm. Rather the significance of Bristow lies in the microcosm 
it presents for the style of leadership that was uniquely Leo Haid's. 
Because this mission always functioned on such a small scale, it came 
to embrace more perfectly than any other single endeavor both the 
weaknesses and strengths of Abbot Leo's administrative gifts and 

Unfortunately, it is not strength of leadership that is found in this 
first, critical juncture of the Lintonsford project. So long as it had 
been a matter of accepting the adventure, of inspiring enthusiasm for 
the project — among the monks, in Belmont's missions and priories, in 
the Chapter, in Rome — the abbot was in his element and progressed 
along a smooth course. But then Sister Baptista became obstreperous, 
and Leo Haid found himself helpless. He did not like to fight. A 
hearty quarrel with Leo Haid usually found the bishop's side to be no 
more than a perpetual repetition of his position, surrounded by raw 
wonder at why people were not doing what he wanted. He was 
skilled at bargaining; he could inspire and lead, but there was at his 
command little facility for countermanding, persuading, or fighting. 
The abbot was ill-suited for dealing with Baptista Linton, who did 
indeed have no intention, it seems, of giving Maryhelp a fee simple 

The Visitation nun was not the only party pressuring the bishop in 
the late summer of 1893. The monk who would head the Bristow 
mission had desires of his own to urge and promote. Haid had 
appointed Julius Pohl as director of the northern Virginia work. He 

was to be prior of the monastery (Saint Maur), and director of the 
industrial school (Saint Joseph), and chaplain to the sisters and their 
school (Saint Edith). 2 ' For the first year, only two other monks, 
Brothers Gilbert and Louis, could be spared to assist in the new 
project, but this did not dampen Father Julius' fervor. Pohl was a 
missionary and a founder at heart, and life at the abbey, where post- 
independence success was obvious, and his nine — really very 
successful — years as director of Saint Mary's College, had caused a 
serious and prolonged depression. He was loved by the students, but 
the lack of adventure in an established monastery was for Father 
Julius a heavy burden. His appointment as founder of Saint Maur 
Priory, however, was a vivifying tonic, restorative in every way. Leo 
Haid had no talent for dealing with disobedience and a bad spirit, but 
from the roots of a profound sensitivity to his monastic children, he 
was remarkably gifted at channeling monks into avenues of 
productive and spiritually satisfying labor. Felix Hintemeyer was 
ideally suited for a life as the loyal lieutenant; Bernard Haas, the 
monk the bishop later sent to activate the Savannah monastery, 
proved one of the best administrators in Mary help's history; young 
Charles Mohr in Florida surprised everyone, including himself, with 
his paternal insight; even Walter Leahy belatedly realized that the 
bishop's intention to consign him to parish work was insightful and 
provident. Julius Pohl was in the same class of wise assignments. He 
was invigorated by the primitive conditions of Bristow, and the fact 
that the mission never did really thrive kept the prior fresh in the 
work that would be his passion for more than a quarter of a century. 

Immediately after his appointment, Father Julius had journeyed 
north to see the estate. He visited other industrial schools to learn 
what Bristow needed, and he traveled extensively seeking financial 
support for Saint Joseph. 29 He returned to Belmont then, rejuvenated, 
anxious to take up residence in Virginia, even though the land had 
not yet been transferred. And Haid, ever partial to his role as father 
to the monks, and despite conflicts with practicality and elementary 
standards of administration, did not squelch his prior-elect's 
enthusiasm. He argured for the reasonable course — "If you insist on 
going to settle this fall," he advised Pohl, 'the promised Fee Simple 
Deed must be in our hands" 30 — but before the end of September Pohl 
was in Bristow. He would start the school, Brother Gilbert the 
buildings, and Brother Louis the farm. But the deed was not in hand; 
instead, Linton acquired her best bargaining strength yet: the 
Benedictines had commenced their work without first acquiring a fee 
simple deed. 

The demand for the promised form of indenture dominated 
Belmont's first year in northern Virginia. Yet despite obvious and 
constant delays, the bishop seems not to have doubted that the title, 
as he believed it had been promised, was forthcoming. He wrote 
Father Julius on 13 September, reminding him to "demand that 
promised" deed, 31 and letters with the same message were still being 
addressed to the Bristow prior in June of 1894. 32 Pohl and the 
brothers were busy erecting buildings, designing the school, working 
the farm, while Abbot Leo in North Carolina was growing impatient. 
"I acted in good faith in the face of promises repeated time and 
again," the abbot wrote Pohl. Trusting in the nun's assurances, the 
chapter had accepted Linton's conditions on the land. But it was 
mandatory that nothing encumber any additional projects. "I insist 
on elbow room to do other things," 33 he said. But still no fee simple 
deed appeared. 

M.J. Colbert, as attorney for Linton and the trustees, finally sent a 
deed on 4 June 1894, but it was not fee simple, and Haid found it "a 
great disappointment — no less than a breach of promise and original 
contract." 34 Colbert tried to soften the disappointment. Sister Baptista 
was distraught over the bishop's displeasure, Colbert wrote after his 3 
June meeting with Linton, but feared the possible effects of 
weakening their position; in particular they expressed concern that 
Miss Anne might lose her annuity if the conditions were not explicit. 
Moreover, the Linton trustees, it seemed, had wearied of the struggle 
as much as the abbot had, and thus the lawyer's tone changed from 
gentleness to ultimatum. If, Colbert wrote, 

you should conclude that under the conditions which I have mentioned, 
you cannot go on with this great and good work, we would regard it as a 
most unfortunate ending to a most propitious beginning, and we would 
have to look elsewhere for some religious organization to accomplish the 

So violent was the discrepancy between the proposed indenture for 
the land and the proposition submitted to the monks of Maryhelp a 
year earlier, that the abbot thought it necessary to convene a new 
Chapter to consider the proposed project. But confronted by insistent 
demands, Haid's prudence collapsed. The monks met on 6 June; 
Abbot Leo read them Colbert's letter, then surprised the assembly by 
endorsing what he had consistently represented as absolutely 
untenable demands by the Linton trustees. 36 Despite all that had 
transpired, Leo Haid stood before his monks and proclaimed that on 
the merit of Sister Baptista's original commitment, it was his 
Understanding that we would [still] get a Fee Simple Deed" at some 

future point. 37 The capitulars, probably in no position to know the 
full scope of the battles of the past year, endorsed their abbot's 
wisdom, and committed Maryhelp to a course the abbot regretted but 
accepted. 3 ' Leo Haid's trust had exceeded his prudence. 

The indenture for the land was executed on 23 June 1894, and 
included all of Linton's conditions, the "friendless white boys," the 
industrial school, everything. 39 When the sisters went to Bristow they 
exceeded the monks — as would so often prove the case through the 
years — in wisdom. At a cost of nineteen hundred dollars, they 
purchased the ninety-two and a half acre Kincheloe farm. It was 
formerly part of Lintonsford and was a walk of perhaps seven 
minutes from where Father Julius built Saint Maur Priory. And since 
the Kincheloe land was not part of the Linton gift, the sisters were 
free to "erect [there] whatever kind of building they chose." 40 

Saint Joseph, Saint TTIauR, Saint edith 

Associating himself with the Benedictine sisters of Virginia ranks 
among Bishop Haid's wisest and most provident commitments. 
Resolute in their intentions, experienced in their work, hearty in their 
efforts and thoroughly enveloped in their religious ethos, these 
women were ideal missionary companions. The two Benedictine 
bodies, the monks and the sisters, were compatible and 
overwhelmingly cordial in their relations, and their labors proved 
mutually advantageous. 

This branch of Benedictine sisters, like Maryhelp's own pioneers, 
had proceeded south from a motherhouse in Pennsylvania. The 
sisters settled in Richmond in 1868, then they began educational 
work at Saint Mary Parish. In 1874, they requested canonical 
independence from the Pennsylvania convent, and acquired their 
autonomy. 41 Their first three novices entered in 1875, and the 
enterprise began to grow and flourish. 42 Bristow was their first 
permanent foundation outside Richmond. 43 

The sisters voted to participate in the Linton project on 4 October 
1 893 , soon after Father Julius established residency. 44 Brother Gilbert 
supervised the necessary construction projects on their behalf, 
starting immediately so that the women could take up abode by the 
spring of 1894. Both the monks and sisters planned to open their new 
schools that fall. All proceeded on schedule, and at the Richmond 
convent, on 30 April 1894, Mother Edith posted a notice assigning 
Sisters Mary Alphonse Bliley, Mary Clara Vogel, Mary Maura 
Wendl, Mary Evangelist Loehr, and Mary Agnes Johnston, to the 

new foundation. They were to begin their work the following day. 
The sisters greeted the news "with wondering awe and tear-dimmed 
eyes." Sister Alphonse, as superior of the mission, coordinated the 
arrangements, and the adventure began. 45 

In Prince William County the sisters easily found their residence, 
but only a bat— hovering near the doorway— seemed to have 
anticipated their arrival. The monks eventually spotted their 
coworkers, however, and greeted the ladies with small gifts, mostly 
provisions for the new convent. Then through the courtesy of Father 
Prior Julius, the Benedictine men and women celebrated their new 
collaboration by sharing a can of peaches. 46 

Father Julius served as chaplain, adviser, and "never failing friend" 
for the sisters. 47 His exuberant spirit was as much of a help at Bristow 
as it had been a decade earlier at Maryhelp. The sisters planned to 
operate two schools. Saint Edith was to be the girls* academy. It 
opened in the fall of 1 894, with sixteen boarding students and a small 
number of day pupils. 48 Saint Anne, the required girls' industrial 
school, was to come later; work on its building began in May of 
1897; 49 the blessing was bestowed on 22 August of that same year. 50 
The sisters resisted threatening fires; 51 they dealt with some unstable 
personnel; 52 they gave concerts, 53 did their work and prayers, and in 
every way promoted the work in northern Virginia. A more 
industrious, practical, and edifying set of compatriots for the monks 
cannot be imagined. So successful were the women at Bristow, that 
"under pressure from Bishop Van de Vyver," 54 the Ordinary of the 
Richmond diocese, and with the warm encouragement of Father 
Julius, the motherhouse itself was transferred from Richmond to 
Bristow on 21 November 1901. 55 

Interestingly enough, Pohl seems to never have had any complaint 
against the sisters — at least none more serious than their inability to 
communicate quickly. Saint Maur and Saint Edith were convenient 
to one another; vision was unobstructed, and the walk was minimal. 
But Father Julius was always desirous of greater convenience when 
he needed to speak with one of the sisters. He used his telephone for 
the first time on 21 August 1900, and proudly recorded in his day- 
book that it was a "Success!" 56 But on the twenty-second of the next 
month he replaced the mechanical device— apparently for a 
mercifully brief period of time— with megaphones. 57 

Sadly, Pohl was not to reveal himself to be as fine an administrator 
as he was a friend and promoter of others' work. Though he had been 
a pioneer and founder at Maryhelp, and had directed Saint Mary's 
College for almost a decade, he had never served as a religious 
superior before. Pohl did prove more direct than had Haid at dealing 

with recalcitrants and problems, but his subordinates quickly learned 
that in a confrontation he buckled as readily as did the abbot. Then 
too, Father Julius was usually reluctant to recognize that difficulties 
even existed, a hesitancy that caused him to lose control in the midst 
of turmoil. Father Julius' letters through the years constitute an 
endless litany of disobedience and languid administrative responses. 
The quality of monastic observance remained undistinguished 
thereby, even while the prior exhibited a singular facility for 
restorative work with his weaker brethren. 

In the early years at Bristow, Pohl's inexperience at being a 
superior was so marked that he tried to exercise administrative 
prerogatives that did not attend his office. He thought he possessed 
the same powers as Charles Mohr had acquired in 1894. But there 
was a difference, a serious one, between Saint Leo and Saint Maur, 
the former being canonically independent of Maryhelp by this date, 
and the latter remaining a dependency of the North Carolina abbey. 
Not until the spring of 1 897, after exchanging a series of detailed and 
technical arguments with a New York canonist, did the prior of 
Bristow concede that his service was totally subsidiary, and existed 
only within the peripheries established, and according to the pleasure 
of the abbot of Belmont. Saint Maur was not governmentally 
independent. 5 ' 

Julius Pohl was not particularly adept as a superior of men, or at 
least not as skilled as he was at guiding educational institutions. 
Nevertheless, his abbot retained him in office through the next 
quarter-century. This seemingly unjustified tenure was expressive of 
the hierarchy of values that marked Bishop Haid's style of leadership, 
coupled as it always was with his spiritual paternity. Firstly, the 
abbot never forgot why he sent the man to Bristow. That need in 
Pohl for hardship and struggle, that talent for beginnings, they were 
seen as intimately connected in Father Julius with the course 
whereby his spirit was to flourish. Leo Haid wanted to focus Julius 
Pohl on channels for which God seemed to have given him the 
talents. Once the man was installed as prior of Bristow— in the 
position for which Haid believed the appointee to have special, God- 
given faculties — he was granted the freedom and support to execute 
his office. These were the same prerogatives the bishop would allow 
Bernard Haas in Savannah, and Thomas Oestreich in the College at 
Belmont; Hintemeyer already enjoyed them as prior of the abbey and 
as Vicar General of the vicariate. Those men who served Leo Haid as 
lieutenants invariably discovered that even when in error, even when 
their actions caused displeasure and earned them a correction, the 
abbot still trusted them. For Haid, this was the sensible manner for 

fostering their growth — as monks primarily, but as practical leaders 
of charitable enterprises as well. The abbot had made their 
appointments in response to what he believed to be the Divine will, 
and outside of creating scandal, the subalterns of the Belmont prelate 
held the sort of liberty of office and jurisdiction that could only 
proceed from a superior's genuine trust. Julius Pohl, as he executed 
his offices in Virginia, received the unfailing support — or at least non- 
interference — of his abbot in matters of internal governance, 
particularly in the rather wild personnel issues that developed. The 
abbot was concerned, of course, especially by Pohl's dreams of costly 
construction projects and his facility for winning diocesan disfavor. 
Nevertheless, though Haid's advice was readily available when 
requested, for internal matters he was reluctant to impose his abbatial 

There were two spheres, however, in which the abbot would not 
stand at his appointee's side: the threat of potential scandal, always 
the bishop's great fear, would invariably elicit intervention. And in 
diocesan conflicts, when the powers of Richmond and the Virginia 
Benedictines were at odds, Haid would again prove nonsupportive of 
his prior. As a mitred prelate and the true superior of Bristow, Bishop 
Haid was the most appropriate party to negotiate with the Ordinaries 
of Richmond. Nevertheless, it fell to Father Julius, who could be 
pleasantly cordial but seldom diplomatic, to handle most of his 
disputes with the diocese. Perhaps in this instance in particular, the 
abbot's trust in his prior may have exceeded caution. 

For each of the four men in whom Haid placed such extraordinary 
confidence, there was always a different substratum of motivation. 
Oestreich had genuine expertise for his work; Haas earned his respect 
through his natural inclination for careful administration; 
Hintemeyer had the loyalty and the touchingly simpatico spirit that 
both buoyed and when necessary shielded his abbot. But Pohl 
appealed to Leo Haid for other reasons, and because of this, even as 
often as he disappointed the bishop, he retained the man's support. 
Unlike the other three administrators, Pohl was not a figure of 
competence but of faith. Leo Haid believed Julius Pohl was a man of 
virtuous aspirations, with potential for great holiness. And the abbot 
was reluctant to impede that disposition for beatitude in any way. 
Unfortunately, it may have won the prior at Lintonsford too much 

Concurrence with Haid's evaluation of the prior was given by the 
Bristow sisters. Father Julius was "pre-eminently a monk," the 
Benedictine women wrote in their official history. In particular they 
found his love of the liturgy noteworthy. The sisters liked to 

remember the fervor with which Julius Pohl would lose himself in the 
Opus Dei. 

To have seen and heard the Lamentations of Jeremias as sung by Father 
Julius was a unique experience in every sense of the word. Accompanying 
himself on a small reed organ, his zeal would reach such an intensity of 
expression, that it seemed to those who were trying to follow the text that 
either the voice or the instrument must surely reach the bursting point 
before it was over." 

The abbot was also aware that Pohl's friendships, his compassion, 
and his charity spoke of the movement of God in his soul. Pohl was 
always devoted, for example, to the monastic theories and insight of 
James Zilliox, even supporting them in debates with his beloved 
Boniface Wimmer. 60 Only Abbot James' untimely death in 1890, 
terminated the letters of spiritual guidance Pohl so gratefully 

One incident in particular, from Bristow's early history, illustrates 
the sort of spontaneous charity Haid found so appealingly abundant 
in Pohl. In the summer of 1898, when the Spanish American War 
was dominating the minds of military leaders, a contingent of twelve 
to fifteen thousand troops 61 was marched from Camp Alger, 
Maryland, to Camp Thoroughfare, Virginia. 62 Pausing en route, the 
men, by this time estimated at twenty thousand in number, 63 
encamped at Chapel Springs, a couple of miles from the priory. 
"Incessant visits" followed, as officers paid courtesy calls 64 and 
soldiers of lesser rank came for food — especially to the convent 65 — as 
well as for articles of piety, the Sacraments, and the quiet of a 
Benedictine chapel. 66 So busy did Lintonsford become that thirty 
military guards were posted at the priory 67 and a dozen at Saint 
Edith. 68 Despite the security, the men still went to the chapels, and on 
the second, and supposedly the last, evening in Bristow, "the Seventh 
Illinois Volunteers came up to serenade us," Father Julius wrote, 'the 
bands served fine music." 69 The next day, 9 August, the encampment 
was dissolved, and the soldiers marched past Saint Joseph toward 
Thoroughfare Gap, the bands playing, the men refreshed. 70 

Yet not all the military personnel departed; a substantial 
contingent of the men remained, victims of an epidemic of typhoid 
fever that had erupted in the camp before its dissolution. 71 That fever 
was then joined by malaria, measles, and mumps. Technically, the 
spiritual ministrations of the Church should have been offered 
through the parish clergy — Fathers Kelly and Sherman, secular 
priests, had tended the men at Camp Alger— but "it became 
impossible for these good priests to attend to them all." Accordingly, 

Father Julius recorded, "The officials waited on me and desired me to 
look after these poor, soldier boys." 72 Pohl visited the remnant of the 
encampment, now a pitiful field hospital. He was deeply moved by 
the suffering he saw, and implored the officers to seek the local 
pastor's permission for the Benedictine to share in this work. The 
parish priest gave Father Julius full authorization to function on 
behalf of the Catholics within the army's camp. On his own, Pohl 
quickly expanded his ministry to include the needs of non-Catholics, 
as well. 73 
He wrote the abbot, 

I am kept very busy. Every day I spend hours in the Camp with the sick 
soldiers.. ..Night before last. ..the Major and Doctor sent for me at one a.m. I 
reached [the camp] in time to give every rite of the Church— when my work 
was finished— [Corporal Murphy] breathed his last. Late yesterday I heard 
confessions and anointed another who had been away so long from the 
Church that even the "Lord's Prayer" and "Hail Mary" were no longer at 
his command. The officials, at my request, have kindly consented to have 
my wishes respected in every way. Confession is facilitated by my having 
the sick carried to private tents, etc.— the boys anxious to hear from home 
consume a little more of my time by desiring me to pen their letters. 74 

And so Father Julius expended himself, in a ministry that would 
extend from August until October. 75 Each day he visited the camp for 
at least three hours, 76 and whenever necessary, the ambulance was 
sent for him at night. 77 By 5 September, so much time was being spent 
at the field hospital, that the army offered him quarters on the site. 78 
He declined the courtesy, however, lest he neglect his spiritual and 
administrative obligations to the sisters and students. 

The next day, perhaps to no one's surprise but his own, Julius Pohl 
reluctantly recorded in his day-book that he too had been forced to 
submit to treatment by the military doctors. 79 A weak body could not 
restrain an indefatigable spirit, however, and the priest refused to 
slacken his work. Part of his fortitude was lent by certain members of 
the Protestant clergy who deeply scandalized Father Pohl. "The 
preachers came invariably to preach to the Nurses," he wrote— not 
without bias. And they just "stood in astonishment," he said, "[when 
they saw] the priest move about among the sick!" 80 

Julius Pohl was much like Leo Haid in his uncompromising 
blindness to any suggestion that he was acting with special virtue. A 
priest's duty, as the prior saw it, was intrinsically unparticularized. So 
Pohl was genuinely surprised to receive a letter from Major J.K. 
Weaver, commander of the Bristow encampment, and a surgeon, 
wherein the priest's "gentle manner and sincere sympathy with the 
boys, your kind words and religious ministrations" 81 were 

acknowledged and praised. Pohl was also deeply touched when a 
group of convalescent soldiers asked to be photographed with their 
Benedictine chaplain. 82 Typically, however, instead of recording his 
accolades or his own efforts, the prior wanted to praise only the 
soldiers. "Not one of us [at Saint Edith or Saint Joseph]," he proudly 
wrote the abbot, "has heard as much as a profane word." The army 
personnel tendered every gesture of respect, and there was such piety 
and thirst for religion, Pohl noted, that "our very rosaries were 
stripped of crucifixes." 83 Then the soldiers left; a new school year 
began in earnest, and apparently the prior of Bristow never wrote 
another line regarding his work on behalf of the military. Neither his 
humility nor his charity escaped the abbot's attention, however. 

Of course the prior's industry was already well known, since like 
any good, pioneer monk, he was devoting considerable time to 
erecting buildings. Indeed on his way to settle at Bristow, Pohl had 
stopped in Richmond where he induced Fritz Sitterding, who was 
knowledgable concerning construction materials, and had 
contributed to the erection of the parish school at Saint Mary, to 
journey north and offer advice. The gentleman surveyed 
Lintonsford's father desolate scene," a hugh expanse of flourishing, 
untended blackberries, "covered with brambles and briars." He 
suggested razing the existing, woefully inhospitable building in favor 
of a more servicable edifice that might utilize the original 
foundation. 84 Pohl thought that to be a sensible recommendation, and 
lost no time or enthusiasm before starting. Sitterding, meanwhile, 
hastily departed. 

Despite the return of his old high spirits, Father Julius was in no 
way insensitive to the miserable condition of his priory in 1893. He 
later wrote Belmont, 

We reached here with next to nothing. From a worldly point of view 
nothing to encourage— everything to discourage us. An abandoned shack 
housed us and our few belongings. The land had not been tilled since the 
Blues fought the Grays." 

What more could there be to secure Julius Pohl's pleasure? The first 
building arose so quickly that the new school opened on schedule in 
1894, a few students even appearing earlier. In 1895, he added an 
east wing; 8 * he acquired a printing press; 87 there was an addition to the 
living quarters; 88 the chapel and refectory were finished, blessed, and 
inaugurated, 89 all in that one year. In 1898, Pohl spent the summer 
hauling stone for his next project; he also placed an order for twelve 
thousand bricks in anticipation of erecting his first non-frame-and- 
board structure. 90 The hope of a building with a more permanent 

facade had been extended by Bishop Haid himself who visited 
Bristow at the beginning of June and suggested that the time had 
come to build a real church. 91 So Pohl built a brick chapel; then before 
it was finished, he started a west wing for the school — this being 
intended for use as a dormitory. 92 On 10 May, Bishop Van de Vyver 
of Richmond and Abbot Leo went to Bristow. The Richmond 
Ordinary blessed two bells, "Benedict" and "Scholastica", for the new 
church. 93 The next day Haid dedicated the oratory; Van de Vyver 
gave the Sacrament of Confirmation, and both bishops preached. 94 
But still Prior Julius did not rest: work on new buildings continued, 
and on 28 October he helped the boys move into their new 
dormitory. 95 

There was so much construction work in the first years of Bristow, 
that even though the buildings were mostly rough, frame designs, by 
mid-July 1900, they were insured for fourteen thousand five hundred 
dollars. 96 In September of that year, another wing of the school was 
blessed, 97 and on 30 September the new chapel in the cloister of Saint 
Maur was dedicated. 9 * 

Of course Father Julius was not just erecting buildings in these 
years. There were also the duties of the school, farm, and parochial 
work to occupy his time, to say nothing of the demands of his 
monastic vows and the administration of the cloister. Agriculture had 
begun immediately upon the monks' arrival — or at least clearing the 
land for cultivation commenced. This sequence, with the farm 
preceding the educational institution, was important since the income 
from the crops was thought to be the most stable earnings the monks 
could expect in the early years. But agriculture served yet another 
purpose at Bristow. Bound to open an industrial school, but having 
no prospects for acquiring any professors who could teach the trades 
or practical sciences, farming seemed as close to industry as Saint 
Joseph was likely to reach in its first days. So land was a high priority 
when affairs were being set in order. And when boys did arrive, the 
farm served to keep them busy. It lent some semblance of reality to 
the 'Industrial school," too. But as at Mary help, farming was never 
really profitable financially. In particular, immoderate rain, which 
seemed addicted to granting either superfluity or drought, destroyed 
crops. 99 So after the first few years when the farm and school 
produced relatively equal income, the agricultural enterprise's 
financial prominence was replaced by the generosity of donors. 100 

Saint Joseph Institute, the boys' school at Bristow, was more 
successful than the farm. For the first school year there were sixteen 
boys, served by nine monks (two priests, one cleric, six brothers); Pohl 
also listed one professor and one candidate as being in residence. 101 


The boys studied elementary and secondary subjects, emphasizing 
commercial rather than classical studies. They had household and 
grounds duties — designed to promote their practical skills — and all 
learned (and practiced) farm labor. There had originally been hopes of 
erecting a college at Bristow, but by 1897, Washington had become 
such a centre of well-funded Catholic higher education, that a 
fledgling Benedictine college in nearby Bristow would have been a 
ludicrous endeavor, and Haid — still wary of the difficulties about the 
deed, too — announced that he had "dropped all ideas of founding a 
College at Saint Joseph." 102 But the institute served a valuable 
purpose, nonetheless, and enrollment was surprisingly steady. There 
were slight increases in numbers through the first eight years, and 
after 1905, attendance figures began centering around the seventies, 
where they remained throughout Father Julius' time. Of these 
students, approximately one tenth were usually day pupils; the rest 
were boarders. 103 The school was never a first-rate educational 
institution, and it was never really an industrial school at all. But 
Julius Pohl ran it with such good will that its value as a charitable 
institution, at least, remained strong. 

The third sphere of work Pohl wanted to see instituted at Saint 
Maur, after the farm and school, was parochial responsibility. Father 
Julius wanted a single parish to be attached to the priory to promote 
apostolic zeal, local contact and interest, higher liturgical standards, a 
useful diversion for the teaching fathers, and auxiliary income. Haid 
quietly assented, and even consented to visit Van de Vyver with Pohl 
in an effort to secure parochial jurisdiction. 104 Bishop Van de Vyver 
in turn endorsed the idea of parochial work by the Benedictines, and 
he expressed no objection to lay Catholics attending the priory's 

Later, the appointment of Father Patrick Donlon, O.S.B., as pastor 
of Warrenton seemed to secure the Benedictines in their pastoral 
work in northern Virginia. Warrenton's parish and missions included 
Manassas, Nokesville, and Bristow; so the Benedictine pastor had 
broad local authority, and of course enjoyed cordial relations with his 
confreres at Saint Maur. Unfortunately for the monks, however, Van 
de Vyver seems never to have committed his permissions to paper; 
thus the timing in particular was left vague, and the critical 
point — that permission for parochial work preceded and did not 
directly relate to the nomination of Donlon to Warrenton — fell into 
obscurity. 105 Bishop Van de Vyver never gave the Bristow 
Benedictines any parochial rights or privileges in perpetuity, but no 
one seems to have anticipated just how ephemeral the monks' 
pastoral assignment in northern Virginia was to prove. 

After Father Patrick's death in March of 1913, when he was only 
fifty-one years old, the monks expected to be called upon to supply 
the new Warren ton pastor. Etiquette, however, left the procedure for 
the appointment uncertain. Had the parish been held in perpetuity, 
the abbot would have been expected to nominate from among his 
monk-priests a new pastor. The Ordinary of the territory would then 
either name that monk-priest to the pastorate, or instruct the abbot to 
submit additional nominees until there was an acceptable candidate. 
But since this parish was not really assigned to the Order, but rather 
had been entrusted to a particular Benedictine pastor, Haid could not 
presume to nominate a successor unless the bishop of Richmond 
invited such a submission. In the interim, while matters were being 
discerned, a secular priest was appointed pastor pro tem, 
ending — temporarily, it was then thought — fifteen years of 
Benedictine governance in the parish. 

Another change had also taken place in Virginia, however. In the 
previous year, 1912, Denis J. O'Connell had succeeded Augustine 
Van de Vyver on the episcopal throne of Richmond. The new 
Ordinary knew the Benedictines reasonably well — he was Jeremiah 
O'Connell's nephew— but because of his predecessor's penchant for 
oral instructions, he had no documentary resources to elucidate the 
situation at Warrenton. Understandably, he did not act hastily, but 
gathered the opinions of his Consultors. 

Apparently, the story developed that the Benedictines had decided 
to abandon the parochial assignment, and thus "our parish died with 
[Father Patrick]." Diocesan memories also revived the apparent fact, 
unknown to the monks until this time, that when Van de Vyver had 
first assigned a Benedictine pastor in 1898, his failure to consult his 
Council had earned him criticism "for exceeding his rights." 106 This 
incident— perhaps united with some wistful or proprietary yearnings 
regarding the Benedictines' flourishing and perpetually held (through 
Roman approbation) parish in Richmond— helped spark what was to 
be a painfully long and vibrant history of strained relations between 
the monks and their secular counterparts, Richmond's diocesan 
clergy. The unpleasantness seldom reached the episcopal level in the 
early years, but it did extend to the Ordinary's most trusted advisors. 
Most notable among these in 1914, was the Very Reverend Felix 
Kaup, the particularly unfriendly chancellor of the Diocese of 

In this situation both Pohl and Haid were powerless to secure 
Benedictine parochial rights near the priory. Neither of the monks 
was consulted. There were no written records to consult either, 
except a detailed narration written after the original appointment and 

negotiation of parochial rights in 1898. 107 And although the narrative 
account was extant and in Leo Haid's possession, the abbot either 
forgot about it or could not locate it at the time. Of course, this 
contemporary item of testimony might have been difficult to submit 
anyway, since the Benedictines — either at Bristow or Belmont — had 
no inquiry submitted to them in advance of the bishop's decision. 

The Diocesan Consultors assembled in Richmond, by order of 
Bishop O'Connell, on Holy Thursday, 9 April 1914. Father Thomas 
E. Waters, as secretary, sent the Virginia bishop a copy of his priests' 
recommendations, and one month later, after the Ordinary had 
ratified the decision, Richmond wrote Belmont. For advising the 
Benedictines of the action of the Council as endorsed by O'Connell, 
word should have been addressed to the abbot, and since in this case 
the abbot also enjoyed the episcopal character, O'Connell should 
have signed the communique to his peer in North Carolina. Protocol 
not withstanding, however, in an intriguing variation on ecclesiastical 
propriety, the letter was issued by Richmond's Vicar General, Father 
J.T. OTarrell, and addressed to Felix Hintemeyer, the Vicar General 
of the vicariate. Haid thus received his official notification from a 
subordinate (Hintemeyer), as issued by an inferior (OTarrell), and as 
addressed to an ecclesial entity that was totally uninvolved with the 
affair (the abbey was responsible for the northern Virginia work, not 
the vicariate). Understandably, Abbot Leo accepted the manner of the 
promulgation as a deliberate insult. And OTarrell's admission that, "I 
now take pleasure" 108 in forwarding this effrontery, only added to the 
ire of the Lord of Belmont. The phrase was, of course, a standard 
convention of the time, but it seemed too well chosen. 

The Consultors' resolutions, which had passed unanimously, were 
lucid in every way, and certainly did not soften the rude manner in 
which they were transmitted to Maryhelp. Bishop Haid must also 
have noted that the Benedictines' ever present adversary, Chancellor 
Kaup, had taken the trouble to authenticate the copy sent to 

Resolved. That outside of their Monastery grounds at Bristow, Virginia the 
Benedictines have no jurisdiction either parochial or personal; 

2. That the arrangements heretofore existing between the Diocese and 
the Benedictines both at Bristow and Warrenton were of a temporary 
nature and only for the purpose of administering to wants of the Catholics 
living within that territory; 

3. That the Parish of Warrenton, within the boundaries of which Bristow 
is located, should not be divided for the purpose of creating a Benedictine 
parish. 109 

Having been forwarded to Belmont as a fait accompli, and already 
promulgated, the decision was inviolable, unless scandal were to be 
risked. There also weighed heavily the factor of Haid not having been 
consulted, even while advanced word regarding the limits to be 
imposed on the Benedictines' work had been allowed to circulate 
freely throughout the diocese. Julius Pohl had written his abbot five 
days before the Consultors met, reporting then, with perfect 
accuracy, what was about to happen. 110 There was nothing Haid or 
Pohl could do to remedy the situation. Heresay did not constitute 
evidence or notification of impending episcopal acts. The abbot saw 
the manner in which the whole affair had been conducted as 
ungracious and provocative. 

Actually, except for its value as a medium of contact with area 
Catholics, and the insulting manner in which the decision was 
executed, Warrenton was not a great loss. It had "never been 
remunerative;" 111 it required a monk to live outside the cloister; 112 but 
the document of limitations, as phrased, reached farther than the 
geography and jurisdiction of a congregation. If strictly interpreted, 
the Saint Joseph <4 parish" — people who looked to the fathers at the 
priory for the Sacraments, since Bristow had no other Catholic clergy 
nor even a church — would be considered a congregation of renegades 
if it continued to assemble, and its clergy would be usurpers. And far 
more importantly, the Benedictine sisters, whose convent was 
situated on the Kincheloe land, rather than on the donated acreage of 
the Linton-Phillips trust, would not lie within the restricted territorial 
remnant in which the monks could function. A Benedictine could not 
automatically serve the women as chaplain or confessor. This in 
particular was painful to both Pohl and the abbot. 113 

By 1914, Leo Haid had grown considerably in the exercise of 
political acumen. But the radical step he announced in this case 
surprised virtually everyone. Keenly aware that the Diocese of 
Richmond, despite its recently inhospitable actions, depended on 
Saint Joseph Institute to take care of the sort of boys required by the 
Linton conditions, the abbot of Belmont summoned a meeting of the 
monastic Chapter, to be held at the conclusion of the annual 
retreat — the time when the greatest number of monks would be at 
the abbey. The announced agenda had one item: consideration of a 
proposal to terminate all the Maryhelp Benedictines' involvement in 
Bristow, Virginia. 

Apparently, as had been the case in Richmond that spring, word of 
this meeting and its agenda somehow leaked" out, and circulated 
freely among the parish clergy. Unfortunately, among those who 
heard the news on the level of a rumor were not only the gentlemen 

of the Richmond chancery, but the monks of Bristow. And Father 
Julius, not yet advised of the meeting by Haid, was distraught, 
especially since he had already requested and received permission to 
make his retreat separately that year, and thus absent himself from 
the conferences at the abbey. Unaware that the proposed meeting 
and vote were intended primarily as a message to Richmond's clergy, 
Father Julius wrote a letter to the abbot and capitulars at Mary help, 
explaining the situation and pleading for the future of Saint Maur 
Priory. Pohl admitted that he was "aggrieved" at the diocese's 
decision. But "to abandon [Bristow]," he argued, "when neither 
financial nor other failure haunts," would be "digfeing] not another's, 
but our own graves." The prior found it "regrettable that there should 
be hostile feeling between the Seculars and the Religious Clergy," but 
the friction should not supersede the good that had been and was yet 
to be accomplished. The sisters were also to be considered, since they 
would never have settled in Bristow had not the monks done so. With 
the many commitments already made, to say nothing of the 
complexities that would attend abandonment of the indenture of the 
Benedictines under the trust deed, the prior concluded, "the divorce 
seems far from easy." 1 14 

The Bristow work was not terminated in 1914, but relations with 
the Diocese of Richmond continued to suffer from chronic irritation. 
This agitation constituted less of a new beginning than an 
intensification of what was already the norm. Many of these conflicts 
proceeded from personal disfavor toward Pohl, but the readily 
perceived support of the abbot for his unpopular — at least among the 
diocesan clergy — prior expanded the peripheries of the original 
animosity to encompass Belmont Benedictines in general. 

Several instances are available which are highly illustrative of the 
character of diocesan relations in the Pohl years, some rooted in 
diocesan impropriety, and some in the prior's more abrasive 
eccentricities. But in one of the earliest conflicts, it was neither of 
these factors, but the interference of a confrere that ministered to the 
prior's detriment. 

From the beginning of the work at Bristow, Pohl had taken 
considerable annoyance from Father Willibald Baumgartner, O.S.B. 
The Richmond pastor liked to make unannounced visits to Saint 
Maur, where his interest was perceived to be excessive rather than 
charitable. Father Willibald was the senior Benedictine in Virginia, 
both in terms of profession and tenure, and by that merit he enjoyed 
precedence. But Pohl, as prior, outranked Baumgartner at Bristow. 
Nonetheless, Father Julius was disturbed by the regular visits of the 
senior monk from the well-established priory in the capital city. Both 

monks were conscious of Bristow's primitive conditions. A spirit of 
competition, undistinguished by overtones of friendliness, resulted. 

There was further friction from Father WillibakTs interest in the 
sisters. He was, of course, the pastor of their motherhouse in 
Richmond, and thus he was cordially available to accompany new 
sisters transferred from the Richmond convent to Saint Edith. 115 
Baumgartner continued to maintain a conspicuous interest in the 
sisters' welfare even after they reached Bristow. In all fairness to the 
Richmond Benedictine, he had a solid reputation for pastoral zeal 
and personal kindness — some conflicts with the sisters 
notwithstanding." 6 But although he was venerable in many ways, he 
was also, by temperament, inclined to indulge his curiosity, and his 
involvement in Bristow's affairs did not settle well with the insecure 
prior in Prince William County, managing his first assignment as a 
monastic superior. 

In 1896, Father Julius* day-book records a slight increase in the 
frequency of Baumgartner's trips north. Of particular note was the 
visit of 3 October, on which day the Richmond pastor was 
accompanied by his brother Leonard, a recent immigrant. Pohl was 
persuaded to hire Leonard as a factotum and construction worker. 
The man proved very helpful with the sisters' buildings, but 
incompatible with Father Julius personally. 117 The Reverend Superior 
and Mr. Baumgartner engaged in frequent disagreements, centering 
mostly around the prior's observation that his employee "was a slow- 
poke and a scandal," and above all a Gotten egg." 118 Father Willibald 
also entered the fray because he disliked the treatment his brother 
received, as well as the gradual shift in loyalty among the sisters, who 
seemed to have started prefering the services of their Bristow 
chaplain over their Richmond pastor's ministrations. 

At the same time, the Richmond priest noted that Father Julius 
was guilty of a technical impropriety with the sisters: he was serving 
simultaneously as both the women's chaplain and their confessor, 
two duties that would not ideally have been filled by a single priest. 
Word somehow reached Bishop Van de Vyver, and the Richmond 
Ordinary recognized his obligation to correct the situation. On 26 
May 1 897, Father Willibald paid a surprise visit to Saint Maur, 119 and 
rather than offend his confreres by a hasty departure, decided to stay 
the night. The next day the bishop of Richmond also appeared; he 
made an official, if unscheduled, visitation of the convent, and 
relieved Father Julius of the office of confessor for the sisters. 
According to Pohl's account, Baumgartner, who departed with the 
bishop, "feasts on my defeat." 120 On 2 July Leonard also took his 
leave, despite his construction work for the sisters being unfinished, 121 

and Father Willibald's visits north subsided dramatically. 

In 1900, there was another conflict with the diocese, this time a 
disagreement with the secular priests of Richmond. According to 
Father Julius* account, the diocesan School Commissioners 
approached Bishop Van de Vyver and convinced him Saint Joseph 
Institute should be subject to the same visitations as any other school 
within Richmond's territory. Precedence was cited by the 
commissioners from the fact that Walter Leahy had permitted 
diocesan visitations during his brief service as principal of Saint Mary 
High School in Richmond. Pohl objected to admitting the 
commissioners to Bristow, however, since the Richmond academy 
had been a parochial school, subject to the pastor of the parish, and 
thus to the diocese. Saint Joseph, however, was not parochial; indeed, 
it was not even diocesan, but the project of an exempt religious 
Order: so long as faith and morals were unimpugned there, the 
running of the institute in Bristow did not lie within diocesan 
provenance, he argued. And Patrick Donlon, who happened to 
attend the commissioners' meeting, informed the clergymen that they 
would not be received at Bristow if they tried to visit in their official 
capacity. 122 

With Haid's concurrence, but without his intervention, Pohl 
fought for his exemption from the commissioners , investigation, and 
finally won the point. The victory was secured from the manner of 
the school's erection. Van de Vyver had endorsed the project, of 
course, but it was the Holy See which had actually permitted the 
endeavor to be undertaken. In issuing their approval, the Propaganda 
had empowered the Benedictines with authority, not the Ordinary of 
Richmond. 123 

The next quarrel into which Father Julius fell was of a more 
personal nature. On the whole, Van de Vyver enjoyed warm 
relations with Bishop Haid, but in the Bristow prior he found a 
grating and annoying presence. Pohl's lamentations were frequent 
and vocal. He was also convinced that the Benedictines should be 
granted any number of special concessions without permitting the 
slightest challenge to his rather broad interpretation of the principle 
of exemption. Bishop Van de Vyver tired of Pohl, his complaints and 
requests, and in 1910, he finally erupted against Father Julius' 
constant nagging: 

Instead of harping everlastingly on poverty would it not be much better to 
take some of your thousands on hand, clean up your premises and keep 
them clean, furnish your house properly, have your priests not hewers of 
wood and drawers of water, but gentlemen and religious, saying the office 
in common, etc. You as the head, a kind, gentle, considerate, sympathetic 

father. If you cannot do these things then ask for the most humble place in 
the college [at Belmont] or elsewhere. 124 

Two days later, Van de Vyver was still fuming. This time he wrote 
Leo Haid, giving the contents of the rebuke to Father Julius. "Do you 
blame me, my dear Bishop," he asked, "for being sick and tired of this 
disgraceful place?" 125 

That same day found Pohl also busy reproducing Bishop Van de 
Vyver's "insulting letter," 126 and he too appealed to Haid. But if the 
bishop of Richmond thought Julius Pohl would respond to the 
correction with a spirit of contrition or amendment, he knew the man 
very little. Instead, the prior, in perfect obedience to the Ordinary's 
instructions, sent Van de Vyver's missive to the abbot with a cover 
letter "askpng] for the humblest place." 127 

Not to be outdone, Haid, who received Van de Vyver's letter a day 
before Julius Pohl's, himself spent 1 1 March carefully copying the 
bishop's communication, then sent it to the Bristow prior for a 
response. 128 But there was no doubt what the resolution would 
ultimately be. Leo Haid did not condone quarrels between monks 
and Ordinaries. He refused to support the priest's protestations of 
innocence and mitigating circumstances, and he also declined to 
permit a good man to withdraw from his work. Instead Abbot Leo 
"bade me do as I was told," as Pohl remembered the incident, and the 
prior spent approximately fourteen hundred dollars on improvements 
at Saint Joseph, as a result. 129 

But the worst of Father Julius' diocesan disputes came in 1917, 
again with Denis O'Connell, Augustine Van de Vyver's successor, 
who the prior believed, "dislikes Benedictines." 130 Actually several 
factors converged to constitute this contretemps, and Bishop 
O'Connell was not as singular a factor as the prior presumed. The 
first issue to arise was the minimum age for students at Saint Joseph. 
For at least seven years, Abbot Leo had been instructing the prior to 
receive no students under the age of twelve. Pohl disliked the 
decision, but accepted it under obedience. His complicity, however, 
was imperfect since, "I never had the heart to say 'no', and I always 
feared that if I did, God's blessing, which counts more than money, 
would be withdrawn." 131 Haid admired Father Julius' generous heart, 
and quietly indulged the disobedience. In the interval, Pohl would 
send occasional reminders to the abbot concerning how unreasonable 
the minimum age requirement was. The letter of 8 July 1917 is 
perhaps his best. 

When I entered Saint Vincent's I was under twelve, and I was not the 


youngest. One of [Belmont's] members of the Chapter wrote me a year or so 
ago asking me to take one five years of age. I refused. . .One of our 
Fathers— without a line to me — encouraged a lady who adopted a 
boy — aged ten years (!), who has neither father nor mother — without any 
mention of terms, to send him to me. He came practically clothes-less. I 
wrote the lady to recall him. A most piteous reply. If we were not able to 
clothe them like College-bred boys — we always/*?*/ them. The lady fears she 
must now send him to a non-Catholic home! Heavens, must these little 
waifs lose even their Faith!! 132 

As waifs and orphans began filling out the classrooms of Saint 
Joseph, the situation began growing steadily beyond control. 

The second factor in 1917 was the filth and disrepair that again 
marked Bristow. Father Julius cared little for amenities, and the 
deterioration of his domain was uninterrupted, progressive, 
disedifying, and potentially dangerous. So bad did it become that the 
monastic Chapter at Maryhelp convened on 15 June 1917, censured 
Father Julius, and ordered specific improvements. 133 The 
threat — implicitly at least — was that failure to improve conditions 
would require the priory's termination. Accordingly, the Bristow 
monks appealed, even before the Chapter had officially acted, to 
salvage their mission from suppression. 134 The entreaty won its point, 
but no sympathy . The Chapter issued its mandate, unanimously 
approved, and stated in the strictest possible terms. Pohl was to take 
"stringent and immediate steps" to initiate the long delayed industrial 
school; practical and sanitary renovations, including "toilets, plain 
sanitary wash-stands, shower-baths," window screens, clean sleeping 
facilities, and "a liberal application of whitewash," were to be 
executed and the expenses charged to Saint Joseph, not to Belmont; 
no boys under twelve were to be admitted for any reason; the 
cleanliness of the students was to be nurtured, maintained, carefully 
supervised and frequently checked. Finally the Chapter ordered that 
an inspection be held so that the improved circumstances at Saint 
Maur could be verified. 135 

The tone of these resolutions notwithstanding, the Chapter still 
expressed its desire to assure Father Julius, 

that the aforesaid resolutions are made in the spirit of fraternal kindness 
with the hope of assisting those members of our Order at present engaged in 
this great work of charity and in carrying out the object of the Founders of 
the Institution which was to aid poor boys in their struggle to become useful 
citizens and good Catholic Christian men. 13 * 

On 20 June, Prior Julius acknowledged receipt of the resolutions. The 
letter, only one sentence in length, assured the Chapter, "I will 
endeavor to act on [the resolutions] to the best of my ability." 137 

And he "worked wonders with the place." Father Bernard Haas, 
O.S.B., who conducted the investigation on behalf of the Chapter, 
could make no more serious complaint than the fact that he found 
the placement of some pipes was "not ornamental." He also accepted 
'Tather Julius* castigation very patiently." Haas' report was 
particularly amazing, given that he had viewed Bristow less than 
three months after the Chapter's vote, a full seven months before the 
deadline imposed on the prior. Pohl was pleased with Father 
Bernard's observations. 'Then you can report [the] progress of the 
'recalcitrant monk,'" he suggested, "to the great monastic Chapter." 138 
At no point did Leo Haid inject himself into this affair, since it was a 
matter of internal governance. He declined even to be the party who 
forwarded the Chapter's resolutions. 

The real crisis of 1917 came when Father Julius was exhausted and 
peeved from the controversies concerning the age of students, local 
hygiene, and the Chapter's mandate. As these matters began to 
subside, Pohl managed to seriously offend Bishop O'Connell. The 
incident was a small one, but its repercussions contributed more than 
any other factor to the exhaustion of the Benedictines' commitment 
to the work of Bristow. 

In 1893, Sister Baptista, V.H.M., had written Mother Edith, 
O.S.B., assuring the Benedictines that the Bristow schools did not 
have to accept their students gratis; indeed, the schools did not even 
have to be started until "they have means to meet the expense." 
Mother Edith had communicated this news to Leo Haid — in the 
same letter in which she reported her acceptance of the Linton 
offer. 139 The abbot had saved this communication; he not being noted 
for filing his papers, however, the important document lay 
undiscovered from around 1900 until three quarters of a century 
later. 140 The bishop of Richmond seems not to have been familiar 
with the aspect of the Saint Joseph arrangement that authorized the 
charging of fees, and Haid was not in a position to substantiate it as a 
specific indulgence of the agreement with Linton. 

The prior had already annoyed the Ordinary of Richmond in the 
fall of 1917 by not attending a diocesan meeting, to which, as it 
happened, he had not been invited. 141 The next month, the diocese 
tried to send some orphans to Bristow. Pohl had in the past accepted 
students whose fees were never paid. His usual approach was to 
solicit the child's support from the party who sent the "friendless 
boy" to Bristow. The Diocese of Richmond was expected to pay five 
dollars per month for boys it sent to Saint Joseph; that amount went 
toward board and tuition; clothing and other expenses were not 
included in the regular fee. Saint Joseph was a school, not an 

orphanage, and based its charges on that principle. Richmond, 
however, was not particularly comfortable with that distinction, and 
in 1917, when relations were already strained from the affair over the 
diocesan meeting, the prior was informed that the O'Connell 
administration would no longer cover the various expenses for the 
boys they sent to Bristow: the five dollars would have to cover 
everything. When Father Julius suggested that even that payment, in 
an amount settled before the horrible inflation of the period, was 
already inadequate to cover even tuition costs, 142 the bishop and 
priests of the Diocese of Richmond strenuously objected to PohPs 
extravagant financial demands. Then — quite suddenly — the 
chancery fell silent. The prior thought the matter had been resolved, 
but the bishop did not. An investigation was quietly initiated into the 
legal conditions under which the monks held Lintonsford. The 
seeming quiet of the next five years, at least as far as the diocese was 
involved, left Father Julius free to concentrate on other matters, 
placidly ignorant of the tempest that Denis O'Connell was preparing 
to set in motion. 

Prior Julius an& ABBOt Leo 

Perhaps one reason the abbot of Belmont gave so little attention to 
PohPs diocesan woes was the unhappy reality that they paled beside 
the internal battles of Saint Maur Priory. But there was also the 
confidence Haid placed in Julius Pohl, and the support he believed 
must attend the priest's assignment. Speaking of Father Julius as 
rector of the college at Belmont, the abbot had observed, "I know the 
responsibility of your position — spiritually and temporally. It is 
taking away half my own cares to be able to go to rest with the 
assurance that you are [at work]." 143 This faith in Pohl was virtually 
above challenge; the chaos at Bristow, as the hapless prior lugged the 
impedimenta of his responsibilities through what seemed a maze of 
endless conflicts, was divorced in Leo Haid's vision from the person 
of the local superior. 

The prior's perpetual innocence proceeded in part from his deft 
responses to queries Haid directed at Bristow. For example, when the 
abbot told Pohl where to build the priory's church, the superior's 
response had been a perfect version of the sort of attitude toward the 
bishop's authority that had achieved such a vogue in the vicariate. 
Father Julius wrote, 

I note what you say regarding the location of the future Chapel. I desired to 
speak to you about this also. I will not wait for your insistence about this. 
As you merely say "you think it would be better", etc. If you do not object, I 
would certainly prefer having it on the other side. 144 

And "the other side" is where it was built. The abbot, after all, had 
not ordered; he had merely recommended. The logic was there, but it 
was at least not the classic interpretation of the niceties of a vow of 

In dealing with his superior, the prior also exhibited a remarkable 
talent for turning corrections to his own advantage. On one occasion, 
after a wrestling match among a couple of inmates, followed by 
letters of complaint to Belmont, Father Julius was questioned by 
Abbot Leo regarding monastic discipline at Saint Maur. The prior 

If men of a religious bend should complain to you, dear Father Abbot, I 
should cordially not only thank you but them, for enabling you to correct 
me; but for men who use knives, fists, etc., on each other and wrestle with 
even negroes — this is much! Yet, even here I cheerfully bend. 145 

Of course, he had not bent at all, but the savoir faire — in the literal 
sense — which attended his response succeeded in rescuing the prior 
from yet another correction. 

Between these approaches, and his requests for penances for 
whatever he had already justified in his previous sentence, Julius 
Pohl seldom lost a dispute with his superior. But on the rare occasion 
that his own will went without indulgence, he would not only give 
the Carolina bishop what he wanted — probably accompanied by a 
request for some compensatory act to be assigned in reparation for 
his delay or incorrigibility— the prior would also leave Leo Haid with 
a dose of guilt to spoil his victory. The boldest of these was written in 
May of 1900. The scene was this: disaster had struck Maryhelp, and 
the abbot had seen two-thirds of his beloved college razed by fire. 
Desperate for reconstruction to begin at once, the presence of Gilbert 
Koberzynski at Belmont was imperative and had to be secured post 
haste. The venerable brother was at Bristow that spring, however, 
helping with one of Father Julius' buildings. It was the low point of 
Abbot Leo's dreams, and of course, Brother Gilbert was dispatched to 
Belmont without delay. Pohl wrote the abbot, "As we ourselves are 
just building we will, of course, miss him very much. 14 *" 

Because of the skill with which the prior could handle Bishop Haid, 
and because of his submersion in temporal and personnel matters— a 
condition the superior of Bristow denied— Father Julius never made 

real strides toward securing a true monastic observance at Saint 
Maur. As late as 1901 , he was still having to post reminders to keep 
seculars out of the cloister. 147 He assured the abbot that he sought to 
serve the interests of the Order, 148 and there is no reason to doubt his 
good intentions, but he seems to have been distracted from his holy 
purposes. As early as 1897, Leo Haid was calling this problem to the 
prior's attention, but Pohl always successfully blamed the 
extenuating circumstances that surrounded him. 149 

The longest running problem regarding monastic observance in 
Bristow pertained to the opus dei. The abbot first instructed Father 
Julius to start having the Divine Office recited in choro in May of 
1900. 150 Half a year later, Haid wanted an explanation for the delay in 
compliance. "Never for a moment since you mentioned 'choir' to me 
did I think of not complying with your pleasure," Pohl explained. 
What follows was not one of his better efforts, but at least it worked 

Even now I am desirous of doing so.. ..I fear, however, that the "choir" 
business will work very poorly. One must be absent as boys cannot be left 
without [a] prefect. That would make us three; that means two on one 
side — and one on the other. It will prove rather hard on the one. The 
recitation of the tenebrae has shown this. Not a chance for a cough, a 
sneeze, a yawn — a call of nature, etc. My voice is high— the others low. ...I 
cannot do more than assure you of the most perfect readiness to introduce 
this monastic, Benedictine feature. Kindly let me know if despite these 
drawbacks you wish us to hold "choir". 1 " 

The abbot did not insist on immediate institution of choral recitation 
of the Divine Office, but ordered instead that the effort begin as soon 
as possible. Two years later, on 28 December 1902, the four priests at 
Bristow finally convened for prayer in common. 152 But the effort did 
not last. They were ordered in 1908, to start again, 153 but to no avail. 
In 1910 both the bishop of Richmond and the abbot of Belmont 
reminded the prior of the importance of the Benedictine opus dei, and 
its recitation in choir. 154 But soon afterwards the number of priests 
assigned to Bristow was reduced to three, a total never again 
exceeded, and the idea was allowed to dissipate. 155 

Perhaps matters of observance could slip from prominence in the 
prior's mind, and after a decade of reminders even Leo Haid seemed 
resigned to this non-observance. But personnel problems 156 never left 
the forefront at Bristow. In this sphere of governance, Father Julius' 
gifts functioned in a manner that reversed Haid's, even though the 
results were often similar. Whereas the abbot's authority seemed to 
increase, the greater his presence; 157 for Bristow's prior, the more his 
subjects came to know him, so too did their ability to ignore the man 

grow stronger. 158 Monastic order and discipline did not profit by such 
circumstances. When possible, the abbot granted the several changes 
of personnel Father Julius requested. 159 But there is no extant 
case — outside of granting faculties for absolving brothers from the 
censures that followed some of the more malevolent acts of 
violence — in which Leo Haid interfered in his prior's hyperactive 
domestic environment. He expected his appointee to do the job, and 
waited for more than a quarter-century for Pohl to impose order on 
Saint Maur. 160 

Unfortunately, affairs at Bristow finally exceeded Father Julius' 
ability to compensate and make amends. The final spark was not 
some new villainy, but a factor that had surfaced repeatedly through 
the years. No one, however, anticipated the ultimate trauma it would 
cause. The culprit was cleanliness — or more precisely, its absence. 
The bishops of Richmond, the monastic Chapter, Haid himself, each 
had commended this problem to the prior's attention at various 
points in Bristow's history; nevertheless, Saint Joseph continued to be 
maintained with substandard hygienic conditions. Two major 
campaigns, one in 1910 (requested by Bishops Van de Vyver and 
Haid) and the second in 1917 (mandated by the Mary help Chapter), 
had already been waged in the interest of cleaning and maintaining 
the premises. But Pohl, whose interests did not rest in housekeeping, 
allowed the property to revert each time to its previous state of 
neglect. This caused increasingly serious problems, that were most 
virulently manifested in an outbreak of typhoid fever at Saint Joseph 
in the summer of 1922. 

In its earliest days, the prior did not write the abbot about the 
presence of the disease. After all, when typhoid had first appeared at 
Saint Maur in 1900, 161 Pohl had thought it minor enough not to be 
mentioned to Abbot Leo, and that time even a monk had fallen prey 
to the fever. 162 So this time, when no monk had yet proven 
susceptible, the prior found no necessity, apparently, of worrying the 
bishop. It was an internal matter pertaining to the students, and the 
authorities in Belmont would not expect to be troubled, he reasoned. 

The typhoid did not long confine itself, however. By mid- July five 
of the boys who had elected to stay the summer were bedridden with 
the fever. Father Raphael Arthur, O.S.B., was nursing them with all 
diligence, but at least two of the students, the Barnes brothers, were 
critically ill. On 26 July, Father Julius journeyed to Washington to 
enlist the aid of a nurse. Mrs. F.M. Kane was hired, and agreed to 
begin the following day. Before leaving the city, Pohl took time to 
notify Mrs. Barnes of the gravity of her children's illness. Apparently, 
though the boys had been bedridden since the eighteenth, the woman 


had received no previous word of her sons' perilous condition, nor 
indeed of the tact that they were ill. 163 

On the next day, 27 July, while awaiting the nurse, Father Julius 
was surprised to see Mrs, Barnes arrive. She had journeyed to Bristol . 
in order to cheer her boys, but her first sight of the priory changed 
her mission from charity to mercy. The children were found with 

temperature[s] running at that time 105°. . . .My two boys and one other 
boy was [sic] just covered with flies, lice, and bed-bugs; it was a terrible sight 
for me to see my poor boys. . , J feel as though my boys were neglected at 
the beginning. Because they were very ill, have been anointed. This is a very 
unsanitary school as the flies are terrible around the food. And that is where 
the germs are. IM 

Barnes stayed at Bristow to help in the nursing duties, until she 
arranged the transfer of her sons to a Washington hospital. Based on 
her observations while at the institute in Bristow, she was finally 
moved to excuse Father Julius from charges of deliberate negligence. 
As she saw the full scope of the priory and school she concluded, 
4 T ather Julius 5 health is very bad;" the prior "is not able to attend to 
things." 165 

This letter of 3 August, written after Mrs. Barnes had spent two 
full weeks at Bristow, was a triple shock to the abbot-— his first word 
of the epidemic, of the return of the unsanitary conditions, and of the 
decline in Father Julius' health and competency. 166 A frightening 
portrait emerged from the Virginia farm, and Mrs. Kane was quick to 
corroborate and substantiate the story. 'Tather Julius," she wrote, 'is 
ill, and not able to cope with duties and youth." 167 

Both women also mentioned an auxiliary difficulty at the priory, 
one of which the abbot had not previously heard from an objective 
source. This problem was a man named Denis Smith, who was 
commonly called "frater," a title appropriate to monks preparing for 
ordination. "Frater" Denis, however, was neither a monk nor 
preparing for Holy Orders. Smith had gone to Saint Maur in 1914. 
Father Julius gre fond of the man ind ill hii 
work as a pre feet— later even as a professor— in the school. Denis 
asked to be admitted to the Benedictine Order, and Pohl did as much 
as he could, receiving him as an oblate. Anything more, without 
appealing to the Chapter at Belmont, would have been impossible. 
Smith slowly increased his influence at Bristow, while convincing 
Father Julius that despite imperfect health his role as prior was still 
being properly exercised. Denis Smith regularly assured Julius 
that everything at Saint Joseph was in good order. 168 

In 1917, "F rater" Denis had announced his ambitions regarding 
the priesthood. 169 Father Raphael tried to tutor him in Latin, but 
Smith proved "deficient." 170 Therefore, the effort was conveniently 
terminated at the first opportunity — when the first World War 
produced an edifying moment of patriotic fervor, and Denis Smith 
enlisted for duty in Panama. The military were reportedly displeased 
with the man's lungs, sight, and hearing, however, so Frater Denis 
returned to the priory, by this time in full Roman collar and monastic 
habit. 171 It took Pohl until 1919 to arrange for Denis to be received at 
Belmont. That summer the incipient novice was dispatched to 
Carolina to enter the clerical novitiate. He made his pre-novitiate 
retreat, but then mysteriously returned to Bristow. Smith lied to the 
prior regarding the reason for his hasty departure from the abbey, but 
Felix Hintemeyer wrote Father Julius, advising him that Denis Smith 
had been tested and his academic credentials found so elementary 
that he had been refused admission. Pohl, of course, forgave Denis 
for his dishonesty, presumably out of compassion for the blow of 
thwarted ambitions. Smith next decided to become a missionary in 
Africa. That objective endured for even less time than had prefecting, 
military life, or monasticism, and he finally settled in at Saint Joseph, 
where he took for himself the religious habit, the title "father" this 
time, and worked as Julius Pohl's assistant. 172 Other than the abbot's 
usual confidence in his prior, and particularly in Pohl's ordinarily 
wise discernment in friends, there is no evidence to explain Haid's 
indulgence of these irregularities. 

After 1920, "Father" Denis acquired a prurient interest in a 
teenage girl, the daughter of the priory's cook, a laywoman. 
Unbeknownst to Father Julius, this romance between his erzatz 
cleric-assistant and the sixteen year old Baptist girl was flourishing, 
and stirring great interest among the townspeople, diocesan 
authorities in Richmond and the District of Columbia, and others. 
When the pair would rendezvous in the evenings, "the boys at the 
Institute [who knew] of his relations with the girl, [would] watch 
them go through the grounds." 173 But no one told Pohl. Mrs. Kane 
reported the situation to diocesan officials when she returned 
home; 174 they wrote Bishop O'Connell in Richmond; 175 in August the 
dioceses, Mrs. Kane 176 and Mrs. Barnes 177 all sent word to Bishop 
Haid. But Julius Pohl, ill in bed, unaware even of the gravity of the 
school's epidemic, was allowed to remain oblivious of the situation. 

So dramatic were the Bristow revelations that showered on the 
abbot's office in the summer of 1922, that Haid was left in a 
quandary, stymied by the complexity of these previously unsuspected 
conditions. He was reluctant to modify his trust in Pohl, and yet his 


worst phobia, scandal, was breeding with a vigor too real to be 
ignored. Accordingly, the abbot of Belmont decided to send an 
emissary to Prince William County to investigate conditions there. 
Ordinarily Haid's inquisitor was Bernard Haas. In his long career at 
the abbey, this priest was assigned to govern, investigate, or conduct 
visitations at each of Maryhelp's major enterprises. But Haas was so 
well known for undertaking such missions, that Father Julius would 
have immediately perceived the purpose of Father Bernard's visit. 
Also, since Haas had conducted the Chapter's review of Saint Joseph 
just five years before, the possibility of friction was high. 

No such suspicions would attend the man Leo Haid did send, 
however. He was young — not even ordained yet — and in no way 
identified as one of the abbot's special assistants. The man, Frater 
Joseph Tobin, O.S.B., was a studious, observant young cleric, with an 
eye for detail and an instinct for propriety. Tobin had gone to 
Belmont as a boy, and had never left, completing his classical, 
philosophical, and theological studies at Maryhelp. As his seminary 
training progressed, or so the situation was represented to Pohl, 
Frater Joseph's health had grown delicate. A month of rest in Bristow 
seemed the ideal remedy. 178 

On 4 August 1922, Joseph Tobin wrote his abbot a twelve page 
letter describing the state of Bristow and its prior. As in the several 
other reports correspondents submitted to Haid, Denis Smith was 
closely associated with the current crisis. In Frater Joseph's analysis, 
Smith "can wiggle Father Julius around his finger." Tobin also gave 
the details of Denis Smith's liberties with the cook's daughter, their 
"auto riding at night, returning late," the man's masquerade as a 
cleric. "It is a disgrace," Frater Joseph observed, "and is disgusting." 
But the most frightening aspect of the situation was Pohl's total 
acceptance of whatever Smith testified or suggested. "He has Father 
Julius bluffed that everything is perfectly all right around here," 
Tobin warned, and that meant conditions — even after the 
crisis — were destined to "go right ahead as before." "Dear Bishop," he 
finally pleaded, "wake [Father Julius] up or somthing," And that 
required tending also to Denis Smith. 179 

If, however, Frater Joseph's report merely confirmed the presence 
of the problems in regard to Smith, it found other matters worse than 
expected. Hygienic standards were deplorable. Tobin was given the 
prefect's room, "and it was filthy. . . .1 don't know how many years 
ago it was since it was washed," he said, but when he cleaned it, "the 
water was muddy when I finished." The stories of bed-bugs and lice 
were confirmed, too. A doctor and nurse inspected the premises and 
threatened to condemn the whole institute. A water inspector 

forbade continued use of the well for drinking purposes, so Father 
rulius, from his sick bed, ordered the water in the reserve tank to be 
employed, F rater Joseph inspected that receptacle and found it "all 
slimy inside, and full of mud." The outhouse, he discovered, had not 
been cleaned for two years, and there was evidence that some of the 
more impatient residents had not bothered to journey to its 
facilities, 180 

The centre of infection, however was the refectory, which Tobin 
found "infested with flies." Father Julius had permitted conveniences 
for human waste to be maintained just beyond the windows, and the 
food— which the frater found good and prepared with proper 
- -could not even reach the table before the flies pounced 
on it. Conditions were so severe that Tobin feared for his own health, 
and begged to be removed. He was so disturbed that instead of 
returning to Belmont, he implored a real rest— perhaps in 
-as a necessity when he was permitted to leave 

V irginia. 181 

before departing, Joseph Tobin arranged for everyone at Saint 
h to be vaccinated against typhoid, 182 and he had the refectory 
fumigated. But he was at a loss for what to do with poor Julius Pohl. 
rhe prior was weak, suffering from dysentery; it was feared he 
'jf the fever. Yet the nurse could win no cooperation 
(mm hfcL Gradually, Pohl had reverted to the marks of depression 
ha! had so seriously scarred his last years in Carolina, complete with 
whining and closing himself in his room. 183 
The abbot had no choice but to intervene. He wanted to go to 
rgk; * a . ier to relieve Father Julius of his duties as gently as 
possible. But by the summer of 1922, Leo Haid no longer had the 
health to endure any but the most necessary travels, and had to 
resign himself to merely writing the pioneer monk for whom he had 
developed such affection. 

With his usual innocence, Julius Pohl was totally surprised by his 
abbot's letter. He wrote in response, 

I just received your letter, and while the contents were quite a shock I write 
to thank you for its kind tone. ...I wish my successor Heaven's best blessings. 
I fear for myself. My inefficiency is my great drawback, having for the past 
twenty-nine years taught small boys only— so that I am all thumbs only. I 
can but try to do your will— and leave the result — even if failure— to God. 

It was a poignant end to the priest's administrative career. Before 
n irginia foi I a olina, the I m i | ri< i y 1 .gain hen va 
lil at his most genuine level— be < dal days' grao he 
could render services requested of him by the sisters and the secular 


priest in Warrenton. 184 He scheduled his arrival at Belmont for 
Friday, 25 August 1922, a few days short of his twenty-ninth 
anniversary as prior of Saint Maur. 183 

Some years earlier the pioneer monk of Belmont and Bristow had 
written his abbot of the submission he wished always to offer his 
monastic superior. Leo Haid was to him, and in this Father Julius 
found great comfort, a true "father", the pater familias of his 
monastery and home. 186 On that occasion, Pohl wrote also of pain, 
the serious pain he drew from the delicate balance of Abbot Leo's 
trust against the weakness he knew to be his own. 

I am at your disposition. I now feel more than ever my deficiencies. Bristow 
was about the lowest rung in our ladder. I was fairly equal to its 
demands— but I am no more fitted to undertake any other duty than was 
the great Bishop England to teach vocal music — and College work is so 
different from what it was in my day; and I am no longer young — hardly 
teachable— though I could not be more willing. Here we had but lowly 
classes. Where I was fingers before, I am now all thumbs! God help 
me— and aid you! Bless me!" 7 

It is, of course, arguable that Bristow was Haid's failure as surely as it 
was Pohl's. The uncompromised support the abbot granted the 
prior—a man clearly unequal to his burden — constitutes irrefutable 
substantiation. For this same reason, however, Bristow's history 
serves as one of the most eloquent testimonies of Leo Haid's values, 
and the levels of priorities he considered in administering his 

Saint Joseph was not a favored apostolate of the bishop's; he gave 
it only minimal sustenance. But it did serve its purpose. In Abbot 
Leo's vision, the monastery of Saint Maur and its school were 
invested with the task of reformation. That was a real and valuable 
contribution to expect, and because that was the abbot's perspective, 
the seeming neglect may not be as severe as it at first appears. It is 
particularly interesting that at Bristow, a foundation he 
possessed — at least as far as the land was concerned— because of its 
apostolate (the industrial school required by Linton), Leo Haid placed 
less emphasis on the state of the monks' external works than was the 
case at any of his other houses. Equally intriguing is the fact that it 
was not really on the monastery, per se, that the focus rested either: it 
was on the monks. Perhaps it is unfair to say that Saint Maur 
gravitated into a school of remedial monasticism, thus allowing the 
institute to be undernourished from lack of attention. But it is 
undeniable that Leo Haid consistently sent his weakest monks 
there — brothers with bad tempers that needed soothing, fraters who 

required tutoring; there was the flutist priest who was lazy and 
obstreporous; two of the priests, because of their particularly 
undistinguished intellects, worried their abbot, so to save them the 
embarrassment that might attend them in a school assignment, he 
sent the two men to his largest farm; there was the newly ordained 
cleric who feared preaching, the gifted educator with the 
undisciplined will. Leo Haid entrusted these men to Julius Pohl. The 
men in his monastery who were weak, and whom he had not 
successfully advanced in monastic values and standards, he entrusted 
to the prior who he thought was a holy man. For Leo Haid, that was 
the value of Bristow, and it was the rationale by which he considered 
Julius Pohl among the foremost of Maryhelp's resources. The prior 
was not a great administrator, not even a good one. But he was gifted 
as a pastor of souls. And the gentle, somewhat negligent, marginally 
competent monk-priest-prior achieved remarkable success in that 
sphere of activity. Many of the subordinates he suffered did not 
amend; some — mostly the ones who developed that talent for 
ignoring the prior — even left the Order. But in the men Father Julius 
guided back or into useful monastic observance, there was a far more 
impressive total. 

Leo Haid must be faulted for poor administrative judgment in this 
regard. Saint Joseph Institute was indeed a failure; its boys were not 
always well served; it brushed all too closely against the corpus of 
serious scandal. In terms of the values to which the abbot-bishop of 
Belmont had committed the priory, however, in the midst of this 
deplorable lack of ambition for practical success, there was a small 
ray of light that exposed a wise abbas, a compassionate father. By that 
measure, at least, Haid succeeded in meeting the standards of his own 
profession, if not those which held a more pervasive influence. The 
failure of Saint Joseph should not be praised, but it was not a 
complete loss. 

A final effORt 

Father Julius lived for two years after his return to the abbey. 
Cancer of the throat caused him great physical pain, but the abbot 
made every effort to ease his mental anxieties. Poor health was given 
as the official reason for the priest's return, despite which Father 
Julius served generously in the vicariate and at Belmont, until he 
grew incapable of sustaining the effort any longer. Bishop Haid 
spared Father Julius the pain of knowing of any of the official 
complaints registered against him by the Church in Richmond 188 and 

in Washington. 1 " 

As the new prior of Saint Maur, the abbot appointed Father 
Ignatius Remke, O.S.B. This was a sound choice on several counts. 
Remke was a practical man who had served as procurator of the 
abbey; he could be expected to oversee the restoration in Bristow 
with dispatch and economy. He was also a native Virginian, scion of 
a prominent Catholic family in Richmond, and Belmont's first 
vocation from Saint Mary parish. This, it was thought, would create 
an advantage for the Benedictines in seeking to improve relations 
with the diocese. Remke's appointment to Bristow was also timely, 
since after long years of investigating and under the influence of the 
institute's most recent excitement, Denis O'Connell was finally ready 
to challenge the whole manner of the monks' work in Prince William 
County. It was a struggle Pohl could never have met. 

Upon his arrival in Virginia, Father Ignatius first tried to solidify 
finances. Father Julius' annual reports 190 had not shown a deficit 
since the 1890's, and cash reserves had been recorded as increasing at 
a fantastic rate. Indeed Pohl's final report, dated 19 August 1922, 
showed his legacy as eighteen thousand five hundred forty dollars 
and ninety-six cents, with eight thousand eight hundred twenty-two 
dollars and fifty-six cents of that actually on hand. There were also 
three priests, one oblate [Denis Smith], seventy-seven boarding 
students, eleven day scholars, eight horses, two mules, one bull, 
thirteen cows, four heifers, three calves, thirty swine, about three 
hundred fowls, and two brothers. 191 But conditions were not as 
comfortable as this report made it seem. There were over four 
hundred Mass intentions, too many for Bristow to handle, even over 
a period of years. The Masses and their stipends had to be assigned 
elsewhere. 192 Income was found to be rooted not in the school or farm 
but in donations; these disappeared when Father Julius' charm was 
replaced by Father Ignatius' practicality. 193 There were repairs to be 
made on all the buildings, of course; 194 these were a financial drain. 
Then Remke discovered that in his own impractical way, Pohl had 
been a rather creative bookkeeper. The large surplus of funds existed 
only on paper. The prior had each year dutifully recorded the services 
of the monks and sisters, since they drew no salaries, as income. 195 All 
these variants were adjusted and in January, Father Ignatius reported 
that instead of eighteen thousand dollars, the priory had one hundred 
seventeen dollars and ninety-eight cents, and no anticipated income 
capable of meeting expenses. 196 Haid was so shocked that he later 
ordered Fathers John Smith and Wilfrid Foley to audit Remke's 
accounts. These men vindicated the new prior's accuracy. 197 

Physical conditions were no better than financial ones. "You have 

heard so much about the dirt filth, etc. of this place," Remke wrote 
the abbot, "It was all true." Despite the presence of two wells, there 
was no water acceptable for human consumption. 198 Then when 
Father Ignatius thought he had finally uncovered all of Bristow's 
problems, he was shown the sewer line which was broken, and had 
been spilling its contents under the priory for as long as three years. 199 
In an effort to restore hygiene, Haid decided to limit school 
enrollment to only twenty-five or thirty pupils per year. 200 Living 
conditions were eased by the decision, but income evaporated, and 
the school neared death. Bishop O'Connell and Father Kaup could 
not have found a more opportune moment to challenge the 
Benedictines in Bristow. 

Ignatius Remke, when on his way to assume control of Saint 
Maur, had visited the Ordinary in Richmond. The two men spoke 
frankly, and the prior was able to perceive the strength of O'Connell 's 
annoyance. The bishop 

reviewed the whole history of Bristow and his dealing with Father Julius, 
told me all the complaints he had to make against Bristow and all the 
trouble and worry this place has caused him.... The general condition of the 
place, he said, was a reflection on his diocese and a personal reflection on 
himself.. ..He feared all along that the Board of Public Health would close 
up Saint Joseph. ...He was very plain-spoken and rather severe in his 
criticisms. Still, he was.. .delighted that the change of Superior had been 
made and hoped that a change of conditions in many things would soon 
follow. 201 

In a perceptive, if impolitic, response, the ever practical Remke left 
the meeting and secured the abbot's old friend Thomas Lion as the 
priory's attorney. 

One month later, Father Kaup announced his intention to send 
two orphans to Saint Joseph. The struggle of five years earlier was 
immediately revived, and Remke informed the priest that he would 
only consider accepting orphans if the diocese not only paid their fees 
and expenses, but also agreed to take back the boys should they prove 
incorrigible. Kaup's response took an ominous tone. He said, as 
Father Ignatius reported it, "that he could not send the boys on the 
conditions which I had made, that the Bishop had read my letter with 
deep regret, and that [O'Connell] 'will call for an official 
interpretation of the trust attached to the Bristow property."' 202 

In December, Remke met with O'Connell in Richmond. Their 
discussion lasted more than an hour, as the bishop praised "good, 
good Bishop Haid's intentions to erect shops, to start a choir, etc." But 
neither the institute nor the monastery seemed to be functioning 
properly, and at least regarding the former, "the law requires more 

than intentions." The Ordinary seemed concerned throughout the 
meeting that, by violating the trust agreement, Maryhelp was in 
danger of losing the Bristow property. O'Conneli did not mention, 
however, that it was the diocese that was considering a challenge to 
Saint Joseph's conformity with the Linton conditions. "I have been 
[expecting] trouble," the prior wrote Belmont, "since I came here, and 
now I have it." Remke's one request— and this echoed Mohr's of 
almost three decades before—was that the gentle-hearted abbot 
would not enter the fray. 

I beg you not to worry about this matter, and don't write to Bishop 
O'Connell. I am, in fact, I have been in consultation with our lawyer for 
some time past, and I am in hopes that we will straighten out matters to the 
satisfaction of everybody. So please don't worry about it. I shall write to you 
again before long, perhaps before the end of the week. Just keep cool. Don't 
worry. 203 

With seventeen hundred acres ot land, a prioi ^h^l farm to s ' 
nothing of justice and related virtues at stake, the abbot ma? h - 
been imperfect in following Remke's injunctions. Nevertheless, 
keenly aware—albeit somewhat belatedly— that he should have 
pressed for that fee simple deed Sister Baptista had promised in 1 893, 
Haid did stay quiet, and let this very competent priest act without 
restraint or interference. 

Lion decided that the monks should take the initiative in the case, 
and introduce a petition to the Circuit Court in Prince William 
County asking the appointment of new trustees, who could then 
clarify or reconstitute as necessity might demand, the terms of the 
trust deed. By appealing to the court, Remke and Lion hoped to 
exclude the diocese from legal interest in the case, 204 but Richmond 
petitioned the court for the same purpose— though with a different 
end envisioned. 

At the same time Father Ignatius applied himself to a statement of 
the case that could serve in an appeal to the Holy See. Here too there 
was a determined effort to win the initiative, so that the issue would 
be the intrusion of the bishop outside his rightful jurisdiction, rather 
than whether or not Saint Joseph met the conditions of the Linton 
trust deed. The argument was three-fold: First, the Holy See, not the 
Diocese of Richmond, had indulged the monks' acceptance of 
Bristow; second, the property of the Benedictines, since they were an 
exempt Order, was not subject to claims of this sort, made by the 
local Ordinary; therefore, lacking the prerogatives of origin and 
authority, Richmond could make no ecclesiastically founded claim 
on Lintonsford, no matter what civil irregularities were thought to 
exist. 205 

In February, O'Connell sent two gentlemen to Lion's office to 
discuss the case. In this meeting the bishop's representatives 
apparently conceded that diocesan interference would not be 
sustained by ecclesial law. Remke wrote the abbot, gloating over his 
success: 'That was quite a different tune. Quite a change, eh, Bishop? 
A little firmness at times doesn't do any harm. It prevents people at 
times from running over you." In a quieter vein the prior also 
admitted that the diocesan representatives declined to deny the 
probability of a struggle in the state's courts. 206 And before the end of 
the month, the litigation was in progress. 

Hoping to bring pressure on Kaup and his Ordinary, Remke called 
on the Apostolic Delegate in Washington before the civil judgment 
was at issue. Actually, for reasons that were not understood by the 
prior at the time, the Pope's representative appeared as eager for a 
meeting as did the Belmont monk. Apparently when they met, the 
Delegate was able, without Remke realizing the full scope of their 
conversation, to elicit the information he needed regarding another 
Belmont matter that had come to Rome's attention. 207 Father 
Ignatius perceived the talk of Bishop Haid and the abbey— at that 
time, at least — as cordiality, and since the Apostolic Delegate assured 
the monk that O'Connell "has no rights in the matter" of the Bristow 
acreage, 208 Father Ignatius left satisfied. 

The Circuit Court in Prince William County heard the case at the 
end of February. Because the fear of scandal was so prevalent — as 
two bodies within the Roman Church challenged one another in civil 
suits— the litigants kept the affair as subdued as possible, and there 
seems to have been a tacit agreement that the court's decision would 
not be appealed. According to Remke's account, Richmond argued 
that the conditions of the trust deed had not been fulfilled: there was 
no "industrial school, shops, etc.;" the work was "educational rather 
than industrial," and, of course, the monks declined to take ' 'friendless 
boys free of charge." Remke argued that there was legitimate 
endorsement of the character and substance of what was undertaken 
by the monks at Bristow, noting that not Linton, not Phillips, nor any 
of the trustees had ever complained. This was important, since Lion 
had uncovered an obscure Virginia statute that required any "protest 
against a non-fulfillment or change" of a legally binding pact, to 
occur within twenty years of the contract's taking effect. "If none is 
made within that time the change becomes an actual fact." 209 This 
invalidated Richmond's claims against the Benedictines' apostolate, 
and also undermined the petition for the appointment of new 
trustees. Indeed, in the court's judgment, the trust itself was 
"exhausted." Accordingly, it ruled, "there remains no necessity for, 


and the Court doth refuse to appoint, substituted trustees as prayed 
for in the petition of the plaintiff." 210 

Unfortunately, though the land was saved, the apostolate was not. 
When Saint Joseph determined to reduce its enrollment in the 
interest of improving living conditions, the sisters consented to 
operate a boys' school, and Saint Joseph was allowed to die of 
attrition. The sisters' work with girls returned to its Richmond focus; 
Saint Edith Academy was closed, and the Linton Hall Military 
School for boys opened in Bristow. 211 The Benedictine women were 
consistently efficient and prudent in their administration, and 
acquired a reputation for sound academic standards, as well as high 
moral, disciplinary, and cultural values. Thus Linton Hall, unlike 
Saint Joseph, became a successful and respected school for boys. 

With its small enrollment, Saint Joseph Institute was a constant 
drain on Belmont finances; with a larger quantity of students, proper 
and necessary standards could not be maintained; manpower at the 
abbey was insufficient to cover enlarging the school; Belmont 
Benedictines had never been noteworthy farmers, either, of course. 
So the monks' value, and thus their future, in northern Virginia faded 
quickly after 1922. Haid took no action to discontinue the work, but 
in the years after his death the resolution of the situation became 

On 18 May 1927, the monastic Chapter at Belmont passed five 
dicta regarding Bristow: 

1 . The lands covered in the Linton-Phillips trust deed were offered 
without charge to the Benedictine sisters. The acreage from Anne 
Phillips' will, however, was to be retained at least for the present. 

2. Belmont agreed to help the sisters with the taxes for at least five 

3 . All buildings were offered without charge to the sisters. 

4. All chattels and livestock were given to the sisters. Only the 
library, which included incunabula and rare and autographed books as 
well as ordinary volumes, was excepted from this gift, as were 
nonconstitutent items like the automobile. 212 

5. Father John Smith, O.S.B., was approved as chaplain-for-life. 213 
The sisters voted to accept the gift. The bishop of Richmond, 

Andrew Brennan, O'Connell's successor, also endorsed the plan. 214 
And on 1 July 1927, the status of the Benedictines in northern 
Virginia was submitted to Rome. The petition was terse and 
presented its point without embellishment or elaboration: 

Existing conditions render it advisable and necessary for the Benedictine 
Fathers to withdraw from this work, and to relinquish the operation of the 
school to the Benedictine Sisters, exclusively. . . .With the consent of the 
Chapter and [the bishop of Richmond, Belmont] humbly petition [s]. . .for 
permission to withdraw the Fathers from the above mentioned work, and 
that the Benedictine Sisters be allowed to continue its operation. 215 

The petition was approved, and Belmont withdrew, leaving the 
sisters—whose work had always been beyond challenge and whose 
prospects for future success were no longer tied to their less efficient 
brothers or to the defunct 'Industrial schools"*— -to their labors, 

In late October Mother Agnes, at the convent in Bristow, received 
a letter from Belmont. In some small measure it acknowledged the 
bonds established between the monks and sisters during the past 
three decades. Abbot Leo's successor, Vincent Taylor, wrote, "I 
expect never to lose interest in Bristow and your community there." 216 

It was 1927, and Saint Joseph Institute was forever gone. Also 
dead was Leo Haid's vision for the Bristow monastery. All his other 
monastic foundations were conceived and executed along more 
conventional lines. 

These photographs show Haid in the three stages of his tenure at Saint Vincent: As a 
twelve year old Scholastic (ABOVE, left) in 1861, a newly professed monk in the 
clericate (center) during a visit with his mother in 1869, and as a young priest-professor 
in 1879. 

Saint Vincent Abbey (Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania) in 1880. 

ABOVE: The College faculty for 1886-1887 included (seated, left to right) Felix 
Hintemeyer, Patrick Donlon, Julius Pohl, Leo Haid, Eustace Sonntag (loaned to 
Carolina by Saint Vincent), George Lester, Charles Mohr, and (standing) Benedict 
Roth, Francis Meyer, and Bernard Haas. 


Archabbot of Saint Vincent secular priest Archbishop of Baltimore monk-priest 

Prior and Vicar General 

secular priest 



LEFT: The Abbey and College in 
early 1892. 

ABOVE: In 1908, the Abbey's Pilgrimage Shrine was the focus of 
celebrations in the mid-South commemorating the fiftieth anniver- 
sary of the apparitions at Lourdes. 

ABOVE: The future of Saint Maur Priory and its school was never sufficiently 
secure to merit brick buildings. In this photograph (undated, c. 1915), students 
who remained in Bristow during the holidays posed with their Benedictine 
faculty. Pohl is centermost of the three priests. 

Brick shell of the College Building at Belmont, after the Great Fire 
of 19 May 1900. 

LEFT: Photographs of Haid show him aging at an 
accelerated pace after his elevation to the 
episcopacy. This photograph was used in fund 
raising efforts after the fire of 1900. 

f 1 

RIGHT: These were three of Haid's favorite 
monk-priests. Bernard Haas (seated, left) was 
Belmont's most gifted administrator. The cure 
of Francis Meyer (standing) resulted in con- 
struction of the Lourdes Grotto in 1891. It was 
Meyer who introduced Haid to the philanthropy 
of Katharine Drexel. Aloysius Hanlon (seated, 
right) shared the abbot's love of theatre; he 
wrote plays, and even appeared as Hamlet. This 
photograph was taken in 1902. 

the College 
at Belmont 

LEFT: On 8 June 1913, 
the Belmont seminary 
celebrated the largest or- 
dination class in its 
history. Five of these nine 
men were ordained for the 
monastery: Martin 
Schoettle (second from 
left), Edmund Meister 
(third), Lawrence McHale 
(fourth), Maurus Buchheit 
(seventh [actually ordain- 
ed six months earlier]), 
and Richard Graz 

RIGHT: While baseball was 
required of all students, only 
the best players were on the 
team that competed off- 
campus. Four future monk- 
priests are included in this 
1901 photograph: Vincent 
Taylor (seated, third from 
right), Joseph (Michael) 
Mclnerney (front, second 
from right), Jerome Finn 
(standing, third from right- 
apparently posing as a stu- 
dent), and Ambrose 
Gallagher (standing at 

LEFT: The Evidence of the 
Blood Stained Dagger was 

presented in 1897, to celebrate 
both the new theatre on cam- 
pus and the visit of Cardinal 
Gibbons. Dramatics served as 
the most popular extra- 
curricular activity on the cam- 
pus at that time. This cast in- 
cluded two future priests: 
George (Vincent) Taylor 
(standing, left) and Patrick 
Marion (seated). 

rriARyhelp CathefcRal ABBey 

approx imatel y 
240 feet 

19 18 17 16 15 1^ 

1. Jubilee Hall (1897) 

2. Brothers' Clausura (1893) 

3. Library wing (1904) 

4. Pilgrimage Shrine of Maria Lourdes (1891) 

5. Monastery Annex (1894) 

6. Monastery Annex (1891) 

7. Monastery Porte Cochere (1902) 

8. Monastery [originally College] (1880) 

9. College Building (1886) 

10. College Annex (1888) 

11. College Portico (1902) 

12. College Annex (1898) 

13. Site of beginning of fire (1900) 

14. Saint Leo Hall (1906) 

15. Site of O'Connell Cottage (1886) 

16. College Tower (1898) 

17. Site of original Chapel of Maryhelp (1877) 

18. Pilz's main entrance to Saint Mary's College (1880) 

19. Site of O'Connell House (1885) 

20. Bakery (1890) 

21 . Abbey Cathedral of Maryhelp (1892) 


LEFT: Thomas Oestreich, working at his 
desk in the monastery. BELOW: Novices 
posing for a Christmas photograph in 
1915. They are (seated, left to right): 
Patrick Conroy, Gregory Eichenlaub, and 
Cyril McElhatten; the monk standing 
(right) is not identified. 

BELOW: Leo Haid, undated photograph (c. 1892). 

RIGHT: The second 
floor corridor of the 
monastery was 
decorated in the 
autumn of 1910 for 
the distinguished 
visitors who came for 
the erection of the 
nullius and the 
bishop's jubilee. 

monks at the ABBey in decerrmeR Of 1910 

v III 



00Q0 00© 

Father Alphonse Buss 18. 

Father James Buchholz 19. 

Father Thomas Oestreich 20. 

Father Felix Hintemeyer 21. 

Abbot-Bishop Leo Haid 22. 

Father Ignatius Remke 23. 

Father Augustine Ecker 24. 

Father Eugene Egan 25. 

Father Michael Mclnerney 26. 

Father Raphael Arthur 27. 

Frater Philip Fink 28. 

F rater Benedict Rettger 29. 

Frater Maurus Buchheit 30. 

Father William Regnat 3 1 . 

Brother George Poellath 32. 

Frater Richard Graz 33. 

Brother Richard Kleiner 34. 

Frater Mark Cassidy 35. Brother 

Brother Wolfgang (7) 36. Brother 

Frater Andrew Stauffer 37. Brother 

Brother Mark Poegel 38. Brother 

Frater Theodore Zink 39. Brother 

Frater Lawrence McHale 40. Brother 

Frater Edmund Meister 41. Brother 

Frater Martin Schoettl 42. Brother 

Brother Ambrose (?) 43. Brother 

Father Francis Underwood 44. Brother 

Brother Felix Keilhacker 45. Brother 

Brother Celestine Wiegerle 46. Brother 

Brother Christian Hierl 47. Brother 

Brother Aloysius Foerenbach 48. Brother 

Brother Benedict Marschall 49. Brother 

Brother Leo Kopp 50. Brother 
Brother Charles Eckel 

Boniface Schreiber 
Louis Marschall 
Francis Zwiesler 
Simon Keilhacker 
Fidelis Kuhn 
Aegidius Seier 
Francis Buss 
Maurus Lobenhofer 
Albert Popp 
Joseph Ringlestaetter 
Leonard Metzger 
Philip Lobinger 
Frederick Schleid 
Gilbert Koberzynski 
Lawrence Bittel 
Bernard Geil 

the aBBatia 

Photographs on this page mark the erection 
of the abbatia nullius in 1910. LEFT: Official 
portrait of Bishop Haid, used for materials 
related to the nullius' erection. BELOW: 
These were the priests who attended the con- 
troversial retreat for the Vicariated clergy 
that August: (seated, left to right) Thomas 
Frederick Price, Felix Hintemeyer (retreat 
master), Peter Marion, (standing) George 
Watkins, (unidentified), Joseph Gallagher, 
Patrick Marion, Michael Irwin, Louis Bour, 
Francis Gallagher, Christopher Dennen. 
BOTTOM: The procession for the Mass at 
which the Bulla formally erecting the nullius 
was proclaimed. 

ABOVE: Mclnerney's design for the school 
building in Richmond (1910); it was a variation 
on his orginal plans for Savannah (1902). LEFT: 
Monastic and lay farmers in the fields (c. 1913). 
BELOW LEFT: Some Bavarian candidates for 
the brotherhood at Maryhelp; boys were still 
journeying to Belmont in response to Baumgart- 
ner's visit of the previous decade. They are (left 
to right): Philip Lobinger, Joseph Ringlestaetter, 
(unidentified), Richard Kleiner, Frederick 
Schleid, and Wolfgang (7). The photograph is 
dated 1911. 

BELOW: Bishop Haid (third 
from left) and Thomas 
Oestreich, during the 1914 

Chaptec vi: 

the mitpe exceeds 
the Crozicr 

On 22 January 1897, American newspapers 1 began carrying a 
story that placed Mary help Abbey in the forefront of the day's 
religious news. James Cardinal Gibbons, archbishop of Baltimore, 
was reported as having received a cablegram from Rome the previous 
day. The communique, released by an unidentified chancery worker, 
carried news of two episcopal appointments: One was the assignment 
of Father Edward P. Allen to head the See of Mobile, Alabama; the 
other saw Felix Michael Hintemeyer, O.S.B., prior of Belmont and 
Vicar General of the Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina, named 
to the throne of Wilmington, Delaware. The following day the 
Baltimore Sun announced that it had confirmed the story through its 
correspondent in Rome. The alleged appointments acquired 
credence. 2 

The Holy See's nomination of Allen aroused little discussion. The 
priest was a respected seminary rector in Maryland, and his elevation 
to Mobile was received as a wise judgement, recognition granted a 
proven administrator. The candidate for Wilmington, however, 
incited considerable comment. At age thirty -four, three months short 
of the minimum age, Hintemeyer was considered too young for the 


post. Also Father Felix's name had not been placed on the provincial 
terna for Wilmington, causing suggestions that the appointment was 
gratuitously insulting to the metropolitan in Baltimore and his 
suffragans. Furthermore, Hintemeyer was both Bavarian-born and 
associated with the conservative branch of American Catholicism, 
two factors that evinced a detachment from the party of Gibbons and 
his adherents, and thus alerted the press to potential dissatisfaction. 
Also, Felix Hintemeyer was virtually unknown to the powerful 
prelates of the urban East, and was thus assumed by them to have 
been inconsequential. The newspapers immediately began 
investigating this unexpected bishop-elect. Periodicals like the Post in 
Pittsburgh, the Herald, the World and the Journal in New York, as well 
as the Baltimore Sun, offered a variety of suppositions regarding the 
prior of Belmont, and the rationale behind his episcopal nomination. 

Little could be contributed from North Carolina, however, where 
nothing was known of the appointment beyond the journal coverage. 
Until Gibbons received documentation of the Holy See's pleasure 
regarding the vacancy in Wilmington, the news of the nomination 
was considered unsubstantiated. Nevertheless, at the abbey the story 
was being watched closely as newspaper clippings were received from 
throughout the country. Haid was shocked by the announcement, 
and greeted the loss of his friend and prior with serious reservations. 

Despite the obvious speculation, Abbot Leo was not the power 
behind his Vicar General's promotion. Indeed both Haid and 
Hintemeyer were ignorant of Rome's motives in the case. The 
newspapers, however, had no shortage of theories, and they were 
convinced that Leo Haid and his Benedictine cohorts were the 
perpetrators of this grasp for power. The Sun characterized the abbot- 
bishop as a prominent member of the Order in this country," and 
recalled hearing Mark Gross speak of the North Carolina prelate. 
The Benedictines were described as "strong in Europe," where they 
presumably "influenced the appointment of Father Hintemeyer." 3 

In New York, both the Journal and the Herald went even further 
and presumed to identify Haid's Roman friend who had advanced 
the name of Father Felix. Francesco Cardinal Satolli, noted for both 
his Roman conservatism and his opposition to increasing liberal and 
Irish domination of the American hierarchy, was the supposed force 
behind the nomination. The Journal criticized the appointment on all 
these points and more. "The new Bishop is a German, a Benedictine 
monk, and a staunch supporter of [New York's] Archbishop 
Corrigan's conservatism," the paper lamented, as if those qualities 
expressed the worst possible aspects of Romanism in America. It 
continued, "In fact he is all that Cardinal Gibbons' candidate [for 

Wilmington]... is not." Hintemeyer, like the Pope, was identified as 
"radically opposed to the new Catholicism" of prelates like Gibbons, 
Ireland, and Keane/ The Herald noted that Satolli, when in this 
country, had "displayed a predilection for the views, influence, and 
opinion of the German element of the Church in America which is 
largely represented in the Benedictines." 3 So much confusion and 
consternation was aroused by the surprise appointment of 
Hintemeyer, that the Cardinal in Baltimore was supposed to have 
even denied knowing the Mary help prior. 6 

The Wilmington vacancy had been created by the resignation of 
Bishop Alfred Curtis, 7 whom the Sun reported to be a foe of the Order 
of Saint Benedict, "as he was under the impression they labored too 
much for the Order and not enough for the general good." 8 The 
bishops of the province had been summoned to Baltimore in 
September 1896, to create the terna for the Delaware See. Three 
names were selected on the twenty-fourth, 9 none of which was 
Father Hintemeyer's. Gibbons sent the list to Rome on 9 October. 10 
Leo Haid had been absent from the provincial meeting. 11 
Nevertheless, rather than insisting that Felix Hintemeyer be 
nominated, as the newspapers seemed to suggest, the Carolina 
Ordinary submitted to the Cardinal a letter endorsing the provincial 
terna; the communique from Haid made no mention of Belmont's 
prior. 12 

Now, since it appeared the appointment had been made, however, 
Haid was reluctant to comment at all. If the Holy See had named 
Father Felix to Wilmington, Abbot Leo could not presume to express 
displeasure, no matter how much he wished to retain his prior. 
Hintemeyer, too, remained silent, being unwilling to comment on a 
matter that was technically unofficial, despite the general credence it 
received. The taciturnity of the two Belmont monks was further 
encouraged by the controversies aroused by the nomination. Haid, 
more conservative than his metropolitan, and more sympathetic to 
the German-born Catholics, had been careful throughout his reign to 
avoid the national issues of American Catholicism, lest his positions 
create friction with Cardinal Gibbons. Instead he maintained silence 
on the larger questions that affected the Church, and took an active 
voice only in the interest of his own territory and subjects. In this 
way Haid neither compromised his positions nor offended the other 
bishops. At the same time he created a more practical following, in 
terms of his needs, among the laity-who were spiritually and 
financially supportive of his works. The abbot-bishop also cultivated 
Roman channels through the Benedictine Order. Accordingly, 
Bishop Haid had emerged before the American hierarchy as a 

respected figure, highly regarded at the Vatican, too, yet non- 
adversarial at home, and thus in all ways inoffensive. But the 
Hintemeyer controversy implied the interference of Leo Haid in 
ecclesiastical politics. Even worse, it appeared the abbot had won a 
victory over Gibbons and the regular consultative processes of the 
Catholic Church in the United States. Haid had not committed the 
breach of etiquette of which he was accused, but the newspapers had 
indeed stumbled upon the identity of the abbot-bishop's positions on 
important and controversial issues. Even when the furor had 
dissipated, Haid correctly surmised, the suspicions would not fall 
from the bishops' minds. Hintemeyer's episcopal nomination 
promised its greatest impact with the obstructions it would create in 
the path of Leo Haid, a path that could never again be credited with 
the innocent, impartial, anonymous selflessness that attended his 
image in the first decade of his episcopate. 

The rise of Father Felix met a quick and embarrassing end when 
Rome sent the official papers for the Wilmington throne. The 
documents, received on 15 February 1887, proclaimed John 
Monaghan, not Felix Hintemeyer, the third Ordinary of the Diocese 
of Wilmington. 13 It was an announcement that should have provided 
a facile escape for both Haid and Hintemeyer. But instead of 
revealing that the unofficial announcement of Father Felix's 
appointment had been unfounded, and the attendant rumors false, 
the elevation of Monaghan to the See of Wilmington was popularly 
interpreted as a change of heart at the Vatican. Rome, the story 
suggested, had cowed under the impact of the adverse reaction to 
Hintemeyer in America. Thus the Holy See had retreated, 
abandoning Felix Hintemeyer in favor of John Monaghan. 
Humiliated by the new controversy which should have ended their 
problems, the abbot and prior continued their silence. Three months 
later, when Gibbons consecrated Monaghan, Leo Haid decided to 
avoid a potential resurrection of the controversy: he did not attend 
the ceremony. 14 

A full year later, Hintemeyer was still mortified at having been 
affiliated with a situation that embarrassed his abbot; thus he 
submitted his resignation as prior and Vicar General. Reluctantly, 
Abbot Leo accepted Father Felix's petition. In an extraordinary 
move, then, instead of appointing a successor, Haid ordained that the 
Mary help Chapter be summoned to elect the new prior. The abbot 
received the ballots at six o'clock on 1 1 June 1898, but he declined to 
count them in the presence of the capitulars, and retired to the 
abbatial apartments. 15 The next day, Abbot Leo, to the surprise of no 
one except the nominee, named Felix Hintemeyer prior of Maryhelp 

and Vicar General of the Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina. The 
whole effort, of course, had been a ruse. The abbot was not willing to 
lose his faithful prior, and through this elaborate scheme, the Chapter 
was made to seem as enthusiastic about retaining Father Felix in 
office, as was Haid. If Abbot Leo consulted the ballots, he failed to 
note the totals. 

It seemed there was little Father Felix could do to bolster the 
abbot's reputation in the aftermath of the Wilmington confusion, but 
few people could surpass Hintemeyer in an effort to display his 
Ordinary's best qualities. And the prior had been applying himself to 
that end throughout the past year. The most notable effort had 
commenced on 26 June 1897, when in the abbot's absence, Father 
Felix presumed to convoke a meeting of the monastic Chapter. 
Hintemeyer reminded the monks that the abbot was nearing the 
silver anniversary of his ordination, and suggested that a celebration 
be planned that would facilitate the desires of Haid's many friends 
"who wish to honor the occasion by their presence." The Chapter 
endorsed the idea, scheduled the festivities for 25 November, 
Thanksgiving Day, and appropriated two hundred dollars for new 
pontifical vestments. 16 

The prior did not mention that the abbot had already vetoed such a 
commemoration. In 1894, Haid's jubilee of profession had been 
ignored in order to focus the year on the blessing of the new church. 
The sacerdotal anniversary was to suffer the same fate, this time for 
reasons of expense and humility. But Hintemeyer circumvented the 
jubilarian and argued that "the good of Religion and our Order and 
the universal esteem in which he is held demanded action contrary to 
his pious and humble wishes." 17 Returning to the abbey from his 
summer episcopal visitations, Haid found the event scheduled, the 
vestments ordered, and a new college wing being appended to the 
Brothers' Building. The construction effort, called "Jubilee Hall", 
proved the most prized gift of the sacerdotal celebration because it 
finally gave Saint Mary's College the dramatic hall the playwright- 
abbot had so long desired. 

Even for a Felix Hintemeyer gala, the silver jubilee celebration was 
extravagant. The prior had determined that the commemoration of 
the abbot's anniversary would "be the means of infusing renewed life 
and energy into the Church and afford consolation and 
encouragement to the scattered Catholics throughout the State." 18 
And he planned an occasion extensive enough to suit those grandiose 
purposes. Cardinal Gibbons consented to attend, as did the bishops of 
Richmond and Syracuse. Even more important than the Cardinal 
this time, however, was the appearance of John Monaghan, bishop of 

Wilmington. The Ordinaries of Philadelphia and Rochester sent 
personal envoys to the celebration. Abbots journeyed from New 
Jersey, Kansas, Alabama, Minnesota, Illinois, and Florida, and the 
Archabbot came from Pennsylvania. Thomas Frederick Price, the 
first native North Carolinian to be ordained for the Vicariate, gave 
remarks on behalf of the clergy; Frank Bourke, of Saint Mary's class 
of 1897, conveyed the greetings of students and alumni; Gibbons 
spoke on behalf of the Church and the Holy Father. Regis Canevin, a 
priest who since his childhood had known Haid, and had studied 
under him in Pennsylvania, gave the festive homily. Canevin had 
attended the jubilarian's ordination twenty-five years earlier; he 
preached for the silver anniversary in 1897; and twenty-five years 
after that, by which time he also was a member of the episcopate, he 
would return to Belmont to deliver the address at Haid's golden 
sacerdotal jubilee." 

There were gifts, too, all selected by Hintemeyer and financed by 
the bishop's various constituencies. The students gave a gold crozier; 
seminarians, a silver ewer; the priests and people of the vicariate gave 
a pectoral cross and chain, both of gold; from Sacred Heart Academy 
and the Sisters of Mercy, there was a waiter of sterling and a new 
cappa magna. As a special treat for the bishop, two dramas inaugurated 
the facilities of Jubilee Hall: Sir Thomas More, a new play in five acts, 
written for the occasion by Father Aloysius Hanlon, O.S.B., gave the 
theatre a religious hue, while The Evidence of a Blood-Stained Dagger 
appealed to other interests. There was a torch-light procession in the 
evening, capped by pyrotechnics at the grotto. The next day was the 
students', and was given to track and field sports. 20 Gibbons and the 
bishops were treated royally throughout their visit, Father Felix 
having thoughtfully arranged to punctuate any movement by the 
prelates with cheering students and suppliant monks. 21 The 
celebration gave all the appearances Hintemeyer desired, and the 
Ordinaries and their representatives were appeased if not convinced 
by the prestige Haid seemed to enjoy. The Catholic Mirror 
acknowledged the abbot-bishop to be "a profound theologian, an able 
administrator, and an eloquent preacher," and marvelled at him for 
ruling a "Vicariate [that] embraces the whole state of North 
Carolina." 22 With greater modesty and from a more practical interest, 
the abbot advised the primate that the celebration had been 'Very 
grand," and had elicited "the good will of so many friends." 23 

The carefully orchestrated convocation at Belmont in November 
of 1897, through the efforts of Father Felix, succeeded in 
surrounding the bishop with adoring subjects and appreciative peers. 
The various constituencies were, it appeared, virtually vying with one 

another in the effort to pay homage to Haid. The members of the 
hierarchy were given every opportunity to perceive this adulation, so 
they might remember it whenever they should think of Leo Haid in 
the future. The celebration was a success, even if it did not assuage 
the prior's self-imposed guilt. 

The occasion also exposed the prelates and journalists to the 
imposing institution Mary help had grown to be. Jubilee Hall stood as 
the northwest extension of the central buildings. It connected with 
the Brothers' Building at the east end, to form one balance of the "U" 
that embraced the Abbey Church. The next wing, which would 
extend the Brothers' Building, and complete the north to south 
facade behind the church, had not yet been constructed; all the 
buildings that would border it had been erected, however, and its 
intention and placement were obvious. The main monastery, running 
behind the church in three wings, was finished already. The College 
Building which proceeded east to west, and started at the south end 
of the monastery, had two wings in use, and the final extension was 
under construction. When Leo Haid had first seen Mary help eleven 
years earlier, there had been a single brick building, a frame chapel, 
and an assortment of temporary wooden houses. Plentiful evidence 
of the abbot's successful tenure was on exhibit in 1897, and the 
transformation the Haid years brought to the old Caldwell place 
could not have escaped the eyes of the influential Cardinal who in 
1875 had seen on this site a barren farm with a board cabin. 

When completed in 1898, the College Building was particularly 
impressive, and expressed the scope of Saint Mary's College. The 
abbot even added electric lights, courtesy of Miss Rose Frauenheim 
of Pittsburgh, and on 20 November 1898, Maryhelp was "a vision of 
electric brilliancy." 24 The building was well-planned and functional. It 
stood three and a half stories high, and had a basement of forty by 
fifty feet to house the kitchen. 23 For years, Haid had embellished the 
building by promulgating the illusion of greater expanse than reality 
provided. He accomplished this through an artist's rendering of a full 
two hundred ten foot building, only two-thirds of which stood. That 
drawing adorned the cover of the college's catalogue and enjoyed 
various general references, all of which obscured its lack of existence. 
But in 1898, when the third, and final wing was nearing completion, 
it was determined that the building would be stretched to two 
hundred forty feet, and a hitherto unanticipated crown would be 
added at the west end: a four storey tower, possessed of various 
gothic inclinations, boasting pointed capitals, granite trim, and 
housing the western stairwell. The tower would provide a more 
monumental character to the dreams Leo Haid had realized. 

The completed building hosted the dormitories, dining room, 
parlor, chapel for one hundred thirty-two students, sacristy, art and 
music hall, lockers, infirmary, class rooms, study rooms, director's 
quarters, society hall, laboratory, lecture halls, and even a museum. 
All the rooms were completely furnished. The Charlotte Observer 
encouraged its readers to visit the museum by reporting the presence 
of "a counterfeit foreign coin." There was electrical lighting 
throughout the building, and even a "massive telescope" for 
astronomy. Haid combined the dedication with the celebration of 
F rater Charles Rettger's solemn vows on 25 September 1898, as the 
monks and students dedicated the building "for the glory of God." 

It was a proud and happy abbot who officiated at the ceremonies 
that day. And Hintemeyer vested the occasion in the usual livery of 

A lengthy procession, composed of students, seminarians, Benedictines, 
priests and lay brothers, Sisters of Mercy, pupils of the Sacred Heart 
Academy and members of the congregation, followed Bishop Haid, as in 
cope and mitre and assisted by attendants, he blessed the structure from 
basement to turret. Never had North Carolina beheld the like, and the most 
unimpressionable heart must have quickened at the final picture as the 
beautiful new chapel was reached. There the solemn blessing was bestowed, 
the litany of the saints chanted, and Benediction given by the Right 
Reverend Bishop. As a conclusion, Bishop Haid addressed short but 
appropriate remarks to those present." 

The gothic tower at the building's west end was promptly adopted 
by Haid as the ornament that would illustrate his achievements. 
Visitors were escorted to its uppermost windows, above the level of a 
fourth storey, and allowed to survey the abbot's domain. To the west 
there stretched abbey farmland; to the north, abbey buildings; to the 
south there was the country road on which Leo Haid had first walked 
to the old Caldwell place. To the east, neglected now and virtually 
hidden by the grandeur of Saint Mary's College, there still rested the 
old granite slave stone on which Abbot Leo had stood twelve years 
before when he took possession of Maryhelp. The damage of January 
1897 seemed an insignificant episode of the distant past when 
compared with the edifices that adorned Haid's abbey in September 
of 1898. 

Little of note happened in 1899. College enrollment exceeded one 
hundred students for the first time in seven years. There was a minor 
disaster when the water tower burned, but in general, the completion 
of the College Building signaled for Maryhelp a period of quiet and 
security. Haid was so satisfied that not even a storage shed arose that 
year within the usually contruction-minded Ordinary's domain. 

In the spring of 1900, a new century was greeted with all the 
beauty Hintemeyer could summon to adorn the abbey. Easter that 
year was celebrated as the "Solemnity of Solemnities," complete with 
the grandest pontificals since Haid had assumed the throne. Through 
it all, Father Felix stood at Abbot Leo's side, not only asceremoniarius, 
but as friend and chief assistant. Despite the dry winter, the prior 
ordered the brothers to plant fruit trees and evergreens in the 
monastery courtyard that year, so that the buildings would be 
enveloped in blossoms and greenery each spring. Maryhelp was to 
display every possible sign of success and promise. 

On 19 May 1900, the fathers and clerics arose at forty-five minutes 
past three o'clock as was their custom. At four, they assembled in the 
monastery chapel for Vigils. The Office was solemnly intoned; the 
monks stood through the invitatory; they sat as the first psalm began. 
But just then, outside the chapel, from the wooden floors of the 
monastery corridor, the sound of someone running could be heard. 
Abbot Leo nodded to the prior who rose and started for the door, 
seeking to halt the disturbance. He had barely left his choirstall, 
however, when his progress was arrested by the peeling of the church 
bells. The monks froze, silent and stiff in their places as Brother 
Englebert, the night-watchman, burst into the chapel and 
pronounced the verdict in a quiet, level tone: "Fire." 27 

Once outside the abbot had a clear view. Thick, dark smoke was 
being emitted from beneath the eaves at the northwest corner of the 
new College Building; the wind was blowing the smoke toward the 
church and monastery. Overcome with the sheer terror of the 
situation, Haid — with a muted voice and gestures of his hands — 
dispatched monks to hasten into the building and escort the boys to 
safety. The fire itself was over the chapel, but the dormitory of the 
youngest boys, the "minims", was just across the hall. Bishop Haid 
sent Father Eugene to rescue the Blessed Sacrament from the chapel, 
and ordered him next to the Abbey Church to offer the Sacrifice of 
the Altar. Then the abbot stood back, and Hintemeyer took 
command. By this time, flames had burst into sight on all levels of the 

Bernard Haas awakened the small boys, who slept closest to where 
the fire had appeared, and led the procession of thirty-five minims — 
each carrying an armload of possessions — out of the building, 
"without a break in ranks, even after they learned of their extreme 
peril. . .so thorough was their training." The older boys had exited on 
their own. The wind drove the flames eastward and sent sparks 
northward. Hintemeyer directed the monks to fight the flames in the 
college while Haas sent boys to the monastery and church to pack 

valuables. Even while Eugene Egan was offering Mass at the altar, 
students were spread through the church packing vestments and 
liturgical appurtenances. 

In every building of the central complex the work proceeded. In 
the first hour, the students saved a few valuable books, paintings, and 
assorted curiosities, while the flames grew and widened their course. 
Chemical extinguishers were employed and bucket brigades were 
formed, but they were no match for the fire. So as the flames spread 
and the sparks flew through the air more wildly, the work squads' 
approach was changed, and items were thrown from the windows to 
students at ground level. 

At half past five, Haas telephoned the Charlotte Fire Department, 
begging assistance. But the city's firefighters declined to attend the 
Gaston County disaster, suggesting that the lack of water made such 
a trip useless. Hintemeyer interjected himself and protested. The 
water tower had not been rebuilt, but the bathrooms and water 
supply were ideally located at the centre of the building, he suggested. 
There were two wells close to the endangered structures, a cistern, 
tanks, and the lavatory. Nevertheless, no firemen were sent from 
Charlotte. 28 

When Hintemeyer went to report the city's reluctance to assist the 
Benedictines, he saw the bishop for the first time since the delegation 
of command more than an hour before. A story appeared later of the 
majestic figure presented by Leo Haid, his beard blowing in the wind, 
his booming voice threatening the Heavens, "God, save my 
monastery!" The contemporary accounts give a very different 
picture, however. Father Felix found his beloved abbot at the front 
of the monastery. "The disaster was a terrible blow," Hintemeyer 
wrote; the bishop was "crushed by the catastrophe." The prior 
approached his superior. 

At this juncture the saintly Bishop and Abbot Haid, crushed by grief, 
heartbroken and almost a mental and physical wreck, stepped upon the 
abbey porch and with arms outstretched towards the pitiless flames, like 
Moses on the mountain, called upon God's mercy and begged that his 
monastery and church be saved. 

The prior did not address the abbot, but turned, and found his eyes 
in contact with the exact perspective required for studying the 
onslaught of the flames. Immediately the prior began barking orders. 
The time was six o'clock and it was clear that the building would be 
destroyed, the only remaining question being the extent to which the 
fire would be allowed to progress. 

From HaicTs side on the monastery porch, Father Felix had spied 
the crucial juncture for the progressing flames, the site on which the 
monks and students must make their final effort. Hintemeyer 
"directed all available help to one vulnerable spot in the main 
building." The only way to save the remaining third of the college, 
the prior had decided, was to separate it from its flame-infested wings. 
Five bucket brigades composed of boys on the ground and monks in 
the building were formed at the former exterior wall (now a fire wall) 
that had ended the 1886 section of the building. Each brigade doused 
its own level (ground, first, second, and third floors, and attic), while 
the younger boys crawled around, trying to plug all the air-holes in 
the wall. As the boys worked at that, monks took axes and chopped 
at the beams that connected the burning building with the original 

It worked. The fire was contained in this way. Seventy-five feet of 
the College Building still stood. At half past six the first volunteers 
ventured into the smoldering middle section of the structure to try to 
extinguish the small, smoky fires that still dotted the remains of Saint 
Mary's College. At seven o'clock, Haas sent his boys to eat breakfast, 
hastily cooked by the brothers, while the priests and clerics tended 
the fire. Girls from Sacred Heart Academy came at eight o'clock to 
carry "delicate items" into the water-damaged, but safe, monastery. 

Later that day, the grateful monks gave up their rooms and beds to 
the tired boys. Milo Dodd, a student from Norfolk, Virginia, was 
given a life-time scholarship in recognition of his bravery in fighting 
the fire. As it happened, however, Master Dodd was graduated two 
days later. 

No lives were lost, but more than three thousand books, the boys' 
possessions, and all the furnishings of the rooms were gone. 
Electricity was ruled out as a possible cause of the disaster. The 
conflagration was believed to have resulted from spontaneous 
combustion in a sparrow's nest under the eaves. But the cause was 
never definitely established. 

At forty-seven minutes past eleven, Father Francis wired the News, 
Charlotte's afternoon newspaper, "The fire is under complete 
control." The Gastonia Gazette, whose reporters did not reach the 
abbey until noon, reported that "the fire had about finished its work, 
but a gaping mass of crumbling brick walls stood where we had often 
seen a stately college building." 

Through all of this, Leo Haid had been standing in silence in front 
of the monastery. As the commotion ended, he ordered Father 
Francis to buy new trunks for every boy in the school as a gesture of 
appreciation. Then he allowed Father Felix to conduct him to the 

abbatial apartments. Hintemeyer, upon his return, approved Meyer's 
plan to canvass Charlotte raising funds, assigned Father Aloysius to 
chaperone the Pittsburgh boys on their trip home, sent Father Joseph 
to photograph the ruins, dispatched telegrams to abbots, newspapers, 
and parents stating, "College destroyed by fire. No lives lost. 
Complete loss. Bishop Haid." To the brothers, Father Felix expressed 
the abbot's appreciation and his own, then as prior he advised them 
that reconstruction should begin the following day. Also, it was 
Father Felix, not Haid, who wired Pohl to send Brother Gilbert 
immediately. Felix Hintemeyer did not rest then, and it was not only 
because students occupied his cell and bed, but because of the ashen 
figure of Leo Haid. The prior "grieved over the blow" to his abbot- 

Felix Hintemeyer was not the only persons to note the impact of 
the disaster on Abbot Leo. The Charlotte Observer carried a story 
describing the bishop as "prostrated at seeing the work of twenty 
years taken away in a few hours." Haid was indeed distraught. "I am 
nearly despairing," 29 he wrote Katharine Drexel. To Abbot Peter 
Engel at Saint John Abbey he admitted his overwhelming depression. 
"Had my Monastery burned [too]," he said, "I would have given up; I 
am getting too old to begin over again as the struggle of the past has 
worn me out." 30 Even three weeks later, Abbot Leo was continuing to 
entreat Engel to, "Pray for me sometimes, for I am still so nervous 
and fearful. May God strengthen me, and give me a little of my 
former courage!" 31 

When the monastic Chapter had assembled on the front lawn that 
day, before the raging fire, the absence of the abbot had dominated 
the meeting. Father Felix took charge, of course. The Minutes 
recorded that, "our Right Reverend Abbot was grief-stricken at such 
a terrible blow." The monks passed three resolutions as a testament of 
faith in their superior and his abbey: 

1 st - That the rebuilding of the College, should be begun at once. 

2nd - That all should do their best in obtaining help with means to defray 

the expenses incurred. 
3rd - To empower the Abbot to act and do in rebuilding what he thinks 

the very best under [the] circumstances." 

The assembled monks did not realize until the following day that 
their rather public Chapter had been overheard by newspaper 
reporters. The Charlotte Observer had used the meeting to further 
illustrate the abbot's condition. "Whilst the fire was still raging," the 
paper noted, "the Reverend Fathers met, expressing their sympathy 
to the Right Reverend Bishop, and consoling him in his affliction." 33 

Hintemeyer ran the abbey for the next few days, without 
consulting the abbot who mostly kept to his own cell. Hintemeyer 
ordered Haas to assemble the faculty and dismiss school for the year. 
A brief commencement ceremony was held on the twenty-first, at the 
close of which the students presented their premiums (their awards 
for scholastic excellence) back to the rector "as a nucleus for a new 
College library." 34 The prior had Father Francis organize the 
solicitation of funds. What Father Felix could not order, however, 
was the restoration of Leo Haid's spirit and zeal. 

The losses were staggering, with two-thirds of the College Building 
gone, most of the rest damaged by smoke and water, appointments 
and furnishings destroyed. Frances Meyer estimated the damage to 
the library alone— a "magnificent college library, the collection of 
twenty years, and containing many records and authoritative works, 
especially on history and sciences" 35 — at one hundred thousand 
dollars. The total loss was placed — and probably somewhat 
extravagantly over-estimated — at four hundred thousand dollars. 
Insurance coverage totalled just fifteen thousand dollars. The only 
advantage in this dearth of funds was the leverage it gave Hintemeyer 
in occupying the abbot's mind by sending him on the most important 
begging trip in his career. Haid was in Pittsburgh within the week, 
and the summer included journeys through much of Pennsylvania, 
Illinois, and Virginia. He implored help from all sides, then earned 
additional sums by giving retreats, lectures, and missions. 

The bishop saved many of the messages of sympathy that came to 
Belmont in the aftermath of the fire. And a cordial correspondence 
developed with Peter Engel, the Abbot of Saint John, as a result of 
that prelate's compassion and interest. Haid wrote the Minnesota 
monk, "God only could save what was saved," and promote the 
appearance of "so many aid us." 36 Even the Abbot 
Primate in Rome wrote, sympathizing if not comforting: 

...I was grieved by this painful news. ..Yet, as it is, it is bad enough when 
considering that the work done within a few hours by the fire will entail 
upon you, my dear Lord, years of toil and care. May Divine Providence give 
you both the patience and the means to meet the emergency. 37 

The generous and charitable response of so many people, coupled 
with the round of activity Hintemeyer imposed on him, served more 
than any other factor to raise the abbot from his despondency. "I am 
more than thankful for your brotherly help," 38 he wrote Engel, "Your 
message of consolation and hope in our great trial was most highly 
appreciated." 39 

But the disasters of May were not yet completed. Reconstruction 
work began on 22 May, while the abbot was in Pennsylvania. Several 
of the college boys decided to forego their summer recess, and spend 
those months at the abbey assisting in the restoration. To save time, 
Hintemeyer decided to build the structure over the burnt timbers of 
the original, employing also the brick shell that remained standing. 
Brothers running the sawmill staggered their hours to maximize 
efficient use of tools, machinery, and time. Haid was buoyed upon his 
first sight of the abbey in the following week, when he found progress 
already in evidence. 

On 26 May, Brother Andrew Huemer, O.S.B., a forty-two year old 
Bavarian native, just nine years professed, was directing the abbey 
sawmill alone. Leo Haid, surveying the restoration of his property, 
was approaching the mill when he heard faint cries— not for help, but 
for a priest— coming from inside. The abbot, who customarily carried 
the Holy Oils on his person, rushed inside and found a blood- 
spattered room, and the pitiful Bavarian writhing in pain on the floor. 
Haid immediately knelt at the man's side and gave 

poor Brother Andrew Extreme Unction — weltering in his blood! Sawing 
wood, he put on too much steam; the saw exploded and a piece nearly cut 
the whole left shoulder off. He could not speak after calling for the priest— I 
was quite near and gave him all I could. He had gone to Holy Communion 
this morning. [May he] rest in peace! 40 

From this trial the abbot did not retreat as he had one week earlier. 
He wrote Father Francis, "Oh may God in His mercy, have mercy on 
us!... Pray for me especially." Haid officiated at Huemer's requiem. 
Then, solemn faced, the abbot set off on the work that awaited him. 
"My poor nerves were again terribly shocked," 41 he admitted, but this 
time he surfaced not shattered, but hardened and determined. 

Paul Haid was summoned from Pittsburgh to act as 
superintendent of the construction project. Brother Gilbert was 
assigned to be the master carpenter. As the architect, the abbot- 
bishop appointed one of the students who had sacrificed his summer 
vacation to accomodate the college's needs. 

The student architect was Joseph Vincent Mclnerney, 42 who at age 
twenty-three was one of the older scholars in the college. Mclnerney 
was born 18 March 1877, in Lockhaven, Pennsylvania. Both of his 
parents were Irish Catholic immigrants. As a child, Joseph had 
attended Saint Peter Parochial School in McKeesport, and had 
assisted his father in his work as a stone contractor. The fascination 
with buildings arose at an early age, and at fifteen, while attending 
the High School of the Holy Ghost in Pittsburgh, where the family 

had moved, Joseph Mclnerney was accepted as an apprentice by 
W.A. Thomas, former professor of architecture at King's College, 
London. Thomas supervised the boy's training for the next eight 
years, and finally named him a partner. Young Joseph also managed 
during this period to complete two years of liberal arts studies at 
Duquesne. Seeking to broaden his education and experience, 
Mclnerney resigned his position with Thomas, and moved in January 
of 1900 to Belmont, where he enrolled in the classical course at Saint 
Mary's. Older and more accomplished than his classmates, Joseph 
Mclnerney was soon identified as a leader among the students. He 
was noted for his piety; he was an honor student; 43 and perhaps most 
importantly in terms of his popularity, he was a "stellar" first 
baseman. 44 

Such was the young man's modesty, that not until the fire of 19 
May did "school authorities [discover] that he knew a thing or two 
about architecture and design." 45 Working with the monks through 
the summer, Joseph Mclnerney began to wonder if the search in 
which he was engaged and which had led him to resign his promising 
position in Pittsburgh, might be a quest for God rather than for 
classics and culture. So in 1902, when he took his degree, Joseph 
Vincent Mclnerney determined to enter the monastery. There is little 
to document his move to religion; 46 as he remembered it a half- 
century later, after working with the men of Maryhelp in the summer 
of 1900, he simply knew he "was called to become a Benedictine 
monk." 47 So Joseph Mclnerney, taking the name "Michael" in 
religion— which was his father's name— entered Maryhelp as a 
novice on 20 August 1902. He was professed the following year, and 
ordained in 1907. 

The importance of Mclnerney in the developing dreams of Leo 
Haid has no parallel. No other creative force at Maryhelp could even 
approximate the contribution he would make through the years. The 
"Great Fire", as the happenings of 19 May came to be called, brought 
at least one benefit to the abbey: it incorporated Michael Mclnerney 
into the Haid story. 

So for that summer, Felix Hintemeyer ran the monastery; Meyer 
and the abbot sought funds; Haas managed finances; and Mclnerney, 
Koberzynski, and Paul Haid supervised construction. Under the 
architect's direction, the old design was improved, and at the end of 
August Father Bernard published this notice: "We are happy to 
announce to our patrons and friends that Saint Mary's College will 
reopen September 1 5 ." 4 * Not only did the monks manage in the space 
of one summer to resurrect the college and restore the building, they 

even managed to emerge in the fall of 1900 with an increased 
enrollment, the second highest in the school's history. 


Although the setbacks of May had proven mercifully ephemeral, 
their impact on the abbot himself was strong and lasting. There was a 
perceptible change in Leo Haid after the fire of 1900. The disaster of 
the nineteenth, followed by the violent death of Brother Andrew just 
one week later, summoned to the surface images of challenge and 
menace the abbot could not fight. As the primate had suggested, "the 
work done within a few hours by the fire" destroyed a project that 
had consumed Haid's entire reign of fifteen years. By attacking the 
edifices Haid used to symbolize his progress, the fire had shown how 
frail that success actually was. The fire destroyed the most tangible 
symbol of Haid's accomplishments. And yet while this was a painful 
loss, it did not defy restoration. The loss of the gentle Bavarian, 
however, did exceed the limits of the abbot's authority. And since the 
death had occurred while the brother, with excessive zeal, was trying 
to resurrect the images of his abbot's dreams, it was easily recognized 
that Haid — or his impatience — was at least partly at fault. Suddenly 
Abbot Leo found himself faced with a crisis that affected him on an 
uncomfortably personal level. 

Not making friends readily, and convinced that his offices 
demanded a certain reserve from intimacy and common conviviality, 
Haid remained somewhat aloof from most of the crises he faced. The 
problems of his reign were ordinarily concerned with either finances 
or personnel. For each case, the abbot sought to maintain distance 
between himself and the situation, making responses that were 
clearly professional rather than personal. This was not always 
compatible with the obligations of his spiritual paternity, however. 
The compromise between these two principles — professionalism and 
paternity — that finally surfaced came from the core of Haid's 
personality, from that balance of personal reserve and fatherly care 
that marked his relationships throughout his tenure: Though the 
abbot was genuinely compassionate, he gave sympathy more readily 
than empathy; his involvement ordinarily reflected the reserve that 
indicated. He loved his subjects, but did not share their pain. He was 
not accustomed to being intimately involved in their problems, and 
thus he experienced Brother Andrew's death — where he found he 
was more directly involved — not only on a more personal level but 
also in a way that underscored his helplessness. 

But falling images and human sensitivities were not sufficient to 
bring about the bishop's transformation on their own. There was 
another factor that influenced Haid, one that emerges with a 
surprising clarity when the sundry articles of correspondence, 
coverage, and commentary are assembled. Leo Haid recognized in his 
initial response to the fire an overwhelming weakness, a deplorable 
lack of fortitude, edification, and episcopal virtue. In theological 
terms, God had given him the grace, but the abbot had not 
manifested the strength of will to use that Divine gift. Even by more 
conventional standards Haid reasoned that he had failed: He was 
ordained to lead, but had not led. He had shown weakness that was 
unbecoming his rank. 

There were obvious reasons for reaching his conclusion. But what 
is peculiar here is the difference between the standards applied to 
himself and those the abbot invoked against his subordinates. Leo 
Haid, after all, was not noted for seeking the more conventional 
qualities in administrators. He is the man who admired Julius Pohl, 
the ineffectual prior of the chaotic monastery in Bristow, more than 
Bernard Haas, an administrator possessed of skill, stability, and 

The abbot was deeply affected by what he perceived as cowardice 
and what he believed others found to be weakness. He realized he 
had not been heroic when heroism was asked of him, and he was 
pained by that realization. He also did not see in his acts the strength 
of paternity that was the core of his administrative approach. Neither 
did he perceive that these fatherly virtues had become so integral to 
his personality that he practiced them even when shattered and 
disoriented by the fire. No, Leo Haid had not gone in and chopped 
wood or carried buckets of water; he had not assumed command nor 
even coordinated the efforts of his subordinates. But what he did 
manage to do was more expressive of both his character and his 
standards than ordinary heroics would have been. Leo Haid was the 
man whose first response had been to secure the safety of the little 
children; who sent a priest to offer Mass before it occurred to him 
that a bucket brigade might help, too; who though in debt, with his 
apostolate out of operation, and his main building smoldering in 
ruins, had ordered new valises for all the boys who had lost their 

There was a second perspective to be considered regarding Abbot 
Leo's pusillanimity. But the man would see only one side. To his 
mind it seemed that at a time when circumstances called for his 
greatest strength, he had been weak. For once, misfortune had struck 
his own heart, and he had found himself lacking the love, grace, and 

fortitude that were necessary for exercising his paternity. He 
expected to know his frailty better than anyone else, of course. But 
he lacked the comfort of exclusive command of that knowledge. The 
newspapers had announced his enervated performance to the world. 
Even more painful, his monks had written his failure into the 
Minutes of the monastic Chapter. There is no evidence to suggest 
that anyone other than the abbot himself interpreted his response— 
this supposed weakness — to be cowardice. But the abbot believed he 
had humiliated not only himself, but his abbey. On this there 
followed the resolution to amend, and he began the effort to toughen 
his character and his reign by giving himself to the more imposing of 
his positions, his episcopacy. The effort was largely futile, of course. 
Haid could change his actions, but not his whole character and 
personality. In 1900, the externals that attended Haid began to 
change; the velocity of his apostolic labor increased. He tried to reach 
for a style that was both aggressive and marked by a cool 
professionalism; he wanted to manifest the regal bearing, broadly 
focused concerns, and fervent activities that were regarded as 
episcopal virtues. From his more placid and paternal mien as an 
abbot, he sought to move into conformity with the popularly 
conceived image of a bishop. 

The first signs of a changed outlook were subtle. For example, he 
began styling himself "Bishop Haid" rather than "Abbot Leo", even 
when at his monasteries. This was a slight change, of course, and 
since the episcopal title outranked the abbatial dignity, the shift was 
not wholly inappropriate. But this small alteration reflected a far 
more significant transmutation in his priorities. The episcopal duties 
began acquiring prominence in Haid's schedule. For the monks too, 
missionary work expanded dramatically, as weekend parochial 
assignments became commonplace. During the summers, monks 
were sent for prolonged periods of time to parishes — some in states as 
far away as New York and Pennsylvania. Leo Haid's desire for a 
more aggressive approach to his responsibilities caused him to 
emphasize his role as bishop, and thus take himself and his monks 
into a decidedly more active mode of apostolic labor. It was a change 
that not only affected the abbot-bishop, but influenced the character 
of his monastery, as well. 

Even the images of Haid's success began to change in 1 900. He no 
longer possessed the fervor for construction projects that had marked 
the previous fifteen years. After 1900, the bishop wanted his 
monuments not to be in red brick, but in the black ink of debt-free 
apostolates. He encouraged the Mercies to expand their work 
throughout the state, too, most notably with the opening of Mercy 

Hospital in Charlotte in 1908. Father Thomas Oestreich, O.S.B., 
recently returned from doctoral studies in Rome, was named the 
bishop's secretary; that priest handled routine paperwork while Felix 
Hintemeyer ran the monastery. For the first time, Leo Haid did not 
seek to balance his responsibilities, but gave the Vicariate Apostolic 
clear precedence. Even in the staffing of his abbey, there was a 
distinct orientation toward assignments that would free the abbot for 
his episcopal duties. 

In the monastery the change of perspective had an immediate 
impact. The young monks found that they were to be educated with 
an increasingly clerical emphasis that conflicted both with the senior 
Benedictines' orientation and with the character Abbot Leo originally 
had imparted to his monastery and disciples. Of himself, Haid began 
to think less "Abbot-Bishop" than "Bishop". And for his monks, he 
reasoned, "To be mere teachers can never satisfy good Priests!" 49 The 
abbot did not abandon his monastery, and in his words, at least, he 
still gave unfailing emphasis to the demands of the Benedictine 
vocation. But he developed the theme differently after 1900, using a 
theory that said Benedictine identity, if well learned and inculcated, 
was itself sufficient to make a monk true to his vocation, despite 
duties that were apostolic in orientation and exclaustral in 
manifestation. Educating men for this new direction in Maryhelp's 
monastic ethos undermined the original tenor of the house, and 
compromised the spirit the abbot had worked so hard to create. But 
Leo Haid was absent too much during these days to really perceive 
the change that was taking place, and when, years later, he belatedly 
recognized the grasp this activity had acquired on his monks, Abbot 
Leo would be severely— albeit, belatedly— shaken. 

In the vicariate, the apostolic fervor Bishop Haid brought to the 
first decade of the twentieth century, produced a period of 
extraordinary growth. According to statistics in the Catholic Directory, 
the century began with only nine secular priests, just one of whom, 
Frederick Price, had been at work in North Carolina when Haid was 
consecrated vicar. The 1910 figures showed seventeen priests, almost 
all products of Belmont's seminary. In this same period though only 
two additional churches had acquired resident pastors, eight new 
church buildings had been erected, most designed by Father Michael 
Mclnerney. The Catholic population had increased by forty-three 

Various small groups of sisters were brought to Carolina in these 
years, 50 and the Josephites became the first non-Benedictine male 
religious to take up residence in the state. Katharine Drexel assisted 
in securing those clergymen. 51 Haid's travels became increasingly 

extensive and prolonged. In December 1909, just a "little trip 
through a part of Eastern North Carolina" required him to dedicate 
four churches and deliver eighteen addresses." To economize his 
efforts he began carefully dating and identifying his homilies and 
speeches to facilitate their use at a greater variety of locations, and 
thus streamline his preparations. For example, one address on the 
Eucharist is listed as being delivered five times in six weeks in three 
states. 33 A sermon first prepared for Forty Hours devotions in 1908 
was delivered during the next twelve months in Pittsburgh, 
Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington, Charlotte, Savannah, and 
Asheville. 54 Speaking tours routinely covered Georgia, Virginia, and 
both Carolinas; extensions into Pennsylvania and New York were 
common. New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, Florida, and the District of 
Columbia were also on the schedule with some regularity. Even after 
suffering through a train derailment in 1907, an event which must 
have conjured images of his father's death, the bishop did not limit 
his journeys. He treated that accident philosophically, venting his 
new coriaceous facade, saying it was just "one of those 'fool' wrecks 
which might easily have been avoided," 55 and so he continued his 
hectic scheduling. 

So infectious was the abbot's enthusiasm that he found surprisingly 
little trouble this time in converting his monks to the work of 
missionaries. Of course, until he had succeeded in educating a new 
generation of Maryhelp monks, the fathers' ardor for the missions 
may have been imperfect, but the Benedictine priests were at least 
supple under his guidance. The flurry of activity that began to centre 
around the abbey, as it developed, melded nicely with the bishop's 
conviction that the followers of Saint Benedict should be kept busy. 
"Get nearer and dearer to God, Busy Worker." This was his new 
theme. Duties were to be weighted on the balance that was God. 
"The Church needs you!", became his battle cry. 56 

The abbot argued that there was no real conflict in this change of 
values on behalf of his Benedictine subjects, because the monk's self- 
sanctification was to continue to hold priority; only its environment 
had been modified. After all, he suggested, sanctity was promoted in 
the missions, as it was in the monastery, by being "true to their first 
duty— to God," through prayer, meditation, and "self-conquest." 57 
Indeed, because of the "intercourse with our people," he theorized, a 
strength of character would be developed by the missionaries, 
summoning an even greater perfection than would be promoted in 
the cloister alone. "The greatness [and] holiness [of priestly service] 
demanded dignity, " he said, and "the lowly condescension [which is] 
charity." 51 Through these virtues the monks were to speed along the 

road to beatitude, bringing edified and spiritually comforted souls 
throughout the vicariate along with them. 

Remarkably, the monks accepted the new spirit and its muddled 
logic which Haid had so suddenly and unexpectedly proposed, and 
they embarked on missionary labors as assigned. It appears that in the 
beginning they did not fully comprehend that the changed 
perspective was to be permanent, but other factors seem to have 
figured into their adaptability, also. Most significant among these 
influences was the movement it permitted into mainline Cassinese 
monasticism. The houses of the Order in America had been noted for 
their missionary zeal and priestly endeavors. Saint Meinrad (Indiana), 
Saint John (Minnesota), and Saint Benedict (Kansas), like Maryhelp, 
had even contributed to the missionary episcopate. At Belmont, 
however, although the monastery had shared in that reputation for 
apostolic zeal, it had not really manifested the full evangelical spirit 
before 1900. Once the monks of Maryhelp engaged in the essentially 
priestly work, they found that it was congenial and satisfying, 
nonetheless. It gave prominence to their presbyteral character and 
provided an immediate gratification the cloister neither supplied nor 
was intended to supply. This adaptation was also supported by the 
stability of the monastery; whereas, in the first days of Haid's reign 
the mere survival of the abbey required urgent attention, by 1900 the 
demands of stability seemed to permit a broader scope. This was 
illusory, of course, since Benedict had not designed his monasteries to 
support a broad scope of exclaustral endeavors, but in an age of 
missionary monks this change seemed to pass for logic, nonetheless. 
There was, finally, a theological argument, too, that supported this 
prominence of the clerical character: priesthood was a state of life 
consecrated by a Sacrament, instituted by Christ himself; whereas, 
monasticism's vows were sacramentals, pledged to God, but not 
attributed to Divine promulgation. This seemed to justify the 
prominence ordination began receiving; unfortunately, it was a 
perspective against which Benedict had specifically warned. In 
Chapter sixty-two of the Regula he had said, ' 'Nec occasione sacerdotii 
obliviscatur regulae obedientiam et disciplinam ' ' ('Reasons of priesthood 
should not allow them to evade the obedience and discipline of the 
Regula '). 

Maryhelp had changed during Haid's fifteen years; it had grown 
stable and comfortable; then in 1900 the abbot called for a new surge 
of activity and a fresh spirit. As in his first days, he sought to infuse 
spirit through busyness and labor. And as proved the case in 1885, 
the flurry of activity did inspire excitement and many satisfying 
endeavors, but it also fragmented once again the monks' focus. And 

this time, through its impact on cloister and stability, the effects were 
more serious. The groundwork for Maryhelp's new perspective had 
been laid inadvertently, perhaps, but it had efficaciously prepared the 
monks for the change. They embraced the new perspective, and 
reaped benefits that served their Church responsibilities in the 
immediate more than the eternal sphere. 

Pleased by his Benedictines' willingness and adaptability, the 
bishop appealed to the Ludwig-Missionsverein in Munich, 59 the 
Society for the Propagation of the Faith at Lyons, 60 and even De 
Propaganda Fide in Rome to help underwrite the fervent activity of 
his missionary priests, both secular and religious, in the Carolina 
apostolate. Michael Mclnerney designed churches, schools, convents, 
and hospitals, many of which Katharine Drexel and other wealthy 
friends of Haid's helped build. Attention the abbot-bishop received in 
the press encouraged further gifts. And little time was wasted. The 
Church reaped immediate rewards; the abbey's more enduring fruits 
from this period proved harder to evaluate. 

The character and prolific output of Mclnerney's work quickly 
developed a national reputation for the monk. 61 This won 
commissions, lecture fees, and other income for the abbey, but more 
importantly it earned for both the Benedictine and his monastery a 
large, wide-spread following and considerable prestige. He taught, 
designed buildings, wrote, did pastoral work, 62 until an ocular disorder 
in the 1920's finally required that his schedule be revised. 63 So he 
stopped teaching, and virtually terminated his parochial work, but his 
attention was soon claimed by a variety of other duties. 64 

Mclnerney's broad service and national reputation came to 
epitomize, popularly at least, the new spirit of Leo Haid's monastery. 
In Michael Mclnerney, the bishop discovered a co-worker who was 
unquestionably apostolic-minded, without ever losing his identity as 
part of the abbey at Belmont. And Father Michael's image was 
actively promoted by the abbot and his subordinates, casting the 
priest as an emissary from Maryhelp to a larger audience. It was a 
mantle Mclnerney wore for decades. He was portrayed in this way: 

Simple and modest of habit, reticent but kind of speech, humble and 
sympathetic of approach, this gentle monk with unassumed dignity plies his 
daily tasks at the Abbey, an example to all of what a Christian may be when 
genuine art and genuine religion find lodgment in the heart and mind of one 
individual. 65 

With this image, Mclnerney was expected to represent Maryhelp. 
And just by supervising the construction of the buildings he designed, 
the monk-priest was given frequent and broad exposure. In his 

architectural career, which eventually totalled more than sixty years 
and almost five hundred buildings, Father Michael produced more 
than two hundred institutions (dormitories, schools, laundries), one 
hundred large churches, over one hundred smaller churches and 
chapels, twenty-seven hospitals or infirmaries, eighteen convents or 
monasteries, ten gymnasia or recreation centers, and countless 
residences, barns, storage and mechanical facilities, renovations, and 
consulting jobs. 66 Here was the embodiment of Haid's revised 
monastic image: a monk-priest who was pious, hard-working, of 
unimpeachable character, and thoroughly devoted to Maryhelp 

Unfortunately, while Mclnerney was associated with the sort of 
man Leo Haid wanted for his apostolic work, he was not really 
typical of either the religious or the seculars whom the bishop usually 
received. And only through a fortuitous mesh of publicity, 
personalities, and Providence, did the popular image of Bishop Haid, 
his work, and his aspirations, come to center on outstanding men like 
Michael Mclnerney. 

In the apostolic decade with which he initiated the new century, 
Leo Haid found his personnel problems compounded at an alarming 
rate. No amount of travel could give the bishop sufficient presence 
for inspiring the scattered Catholics and clergy of the vicariate. The 
territory was too vast, the people too few. Indeed, the dominant 
factor in his missionary tours was travel itself. The Vicar Apostolic 
was in transit more than in contact. Moreover, as the bishop 
extended these journeys and assigned his monk-priests to undertake 
an increasing burden of missionary labors, the Benedictines too were 
cost the presence of their abbot. Activity increased; the carefully 
developed focus of Maryhelp was fragmented, and discipline had no 
abbatial example on which to base its response and course. 
Increasingly, Haid had to resort to giving orders in place of example. 
But as a giver of mandates, he was no more successful in the 
twentieth century than he had been in the nineteenth. So it fell to 
Felix Hintemeyer to maintain order among the monks whom the 
abbot left at the abbey. Fortunately, the prior proved effective and 
competent at that work, encouraging a stricter monastic observance 
and more unified spirit than Haid had been able to produce on his 
own resources. Here, in Hintemeyer once again, the abbot and 
Maryhelp found the perfect force to amend and counteract the 
abbey's weaknesses. Father Felix was able to maintain order at the 
monastery, and secure the proper observance despite the abbot's 
absences. In the expanse of North Carolina, however, where the 
clergy lacked such an opportunity for immediate supervision, 
discipline continued to suffer. 

Leo Haid still maintained the necessity of mingling "as much 
paternal affection with severity as the due preservation of discipline 
will permit." 67 But because he also believed and practiced the 
principle "humility alone can lead to God," the bishop was 
characterized by his subjects as a weak superior. Even his new 
expanse of activity could not counteract this image, and Haid found 
himself "severely censured for over-kindness." 6 ' He chose to ignore 
that criticism, however, and insisted that gentleness was so integral a 
Benedictine virtue that it could not be abandoned without 
compromising his Divine vocation. No matter how often the problem 
was brought to his attention, Leo Haid believed it would be wrong 
for him to replace abbatial paternity with a more assertive approach. 
That was not the sort of aggressiveness Bishop Haid wanted. Action 
and example were preferable to declamations. 

Familiarity with Haid's style of leadership became so extensive, 
and its character so controversial that reprimands were sent to the 
abbot-bishop, even from other states. A monk from Saint Bernard, 
for example, wrote to warn Abbot Leo, "You are... too good to some 
of those whom you love." 69 In another case, Julius Pohl received 
what the bishop intended as a strong correction for emphasizing 
temporal affairs over spiritual duties; as usual, however, its impact 
was destroyed by the gentleness that surrounded it; accordingly, also 
as usual, the Bristow prior, after studying the letter, saw no need to 
amend. After all, he wrote, "While this is a painful surprise...I thank 
you all the same-as you do not make an accusation-but merely 
inform me of public opinion/* 70 The abbot accepted none of the signs 
or warnings that suggested his leadership was proving ineffective. 

The problem rested less in Haid's theories than in his practice. "Let 
the Abbots keep sternly to the rules." 71 he wrote Archabbot Andrew. 
Abbot Leo, however, did not translate that principle into his own 
jurisdictions, either in the monasteries or the vicariate. And simply 
recognizing that "Malcontents will always be found," 72 provided no 
answer to what had become a major problem. 

When Haid did try to enunciate his theory of governance, its 
paternal character was obvious. He recognized that quality to be 
appropriate to his office, of course, and accepted it as a virtue. His 
monks recognized its clear, Benedictine character. His secular priests, 
however, while apparently respecting their Ordinary's inclinations 
toward sanctity, accused his Eternity" of being mere "gentleness," 
an excuse that allowed him to evade flexing the authority that duty 
demanded a bishop to exercise. This basic Benedictine virtue was cast 
as a principle that could not be reconciled with episcopal 
responsibility. But if a choice were demanded of him, Leo Haid sided 
with the monastic standard. 

The bishop analyzed his role as a superior according to this 
schema: 73 

1 . God is the Absolute Superior; 

2. Authority is, thus, Divine in its source, delegated from God; 

3. Responsibility goes in this order: 

a. to God, 

b. to Church, 

c. to the Order [for the Benedictines! or Vicariate [for secular clergy] 

d. to parents, 

e. to the people in general; 

4. Abuse of authority is criminal, and will usually appear in one of these 

a. exaggeration, 

b. minimizing (which is itself an exaggeration). 

To prevent such problems, superiors should "note and examine 
[their] conduct, [their] tendencies," looking especially for any of these 
dangerous inclinations: 

a. vanity [because] of possessing authority; 

b. injustice in exercising authority; 

c. ignorance, or too great demands; 

d. unwillingness to share the burdens of... subjects; 

e. want of sympathy in. ..manner, voice, etc., whole nature; 

f. lack of sensitivity— especially by demanding respect; 

g. suspiciousness, watchfulness, and deception respresented as 

h. unforgiving nature; 

i. jealousy, envy, crankiness...; 

j. lack of reason, too great severity; 
k. failure to pray for... subjects. 

The bishop treated the same subject from another perspective in an 
address to his novices in 1918. In this instance, he was concerned 
with what subjects should realize regarding their superiors: 

First, the Superior must look to the general good, [which he] often cannot 

Second, [it must be remembered] no Superior acts without sufficient 
reason; he is only too glad to give to every one the work for which he is best 
fitted, [or which is] most advantageous to the Community. No Superior 
wishes to make anyone unhappy, etc. Superiors have a wider, clearer 
understanding of all [the] circumstances [with which they deal]. [They] must 
use the Cloak of Charity. Superiors are human — but as a rule — really 
reasonable— and often would most gladly grant what is wanted if they only 

a. Let our obedience be for God's sake — meritorius. 

b. The greater the sacrifice — the greater the reward. 

c. Let us all work for the common good— not our personal 
advantage. 74 

In Haid's mind, these principles about the natural benevolence of 
superiors were so clear that the seemingly disobedient conduct of his 
subordinates acquired for him a frustrating and ever increasing 
incomprehensibility. For example, one monk sent him a note saying, 
"Being driven to desperation, I leave." 75 To the abbot this message 
made no sense. It appeared to be in response to an abbatial effort to 
provide income for the priest's mother, and to save the family from 
uncovering the youngest brother's "crimes against nature." The 
abbot could not grasp that the priest was exasperated with what he 
perceived as a lack of direct, strong responses to serious problems. 
For Haid nothing was visible except the effort to bring charity and 
Benedictine gentleness to a difficult and unpleasant situation. In 
another case, an apprentice monk decided to abandon the monastery 
when the chance of inheriting a fortune arose. Facing a man leaving 
the cloister for pecuniary reasons, the abbot was totally mystified. 
There was, he believed, no logic in the young man's decision. 76 
Repeatedly the abbot was found longing to help his subjects, but 
unable to understand their problems or their dissatisfaction with their 
superior. He seldom managed to bear much empathy for them in 
their discontent, nor could he anticipate the resolution this augured. 

While the monks failed to evince stability and perseverance, the 
secular clergy under Haid fell into various ill habits of their own. One 
cleric was arrested for drinking. It became commonplace to find 
Catholic clergy "airing their views in public print." 77 So many priests 
left the Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina that Bishop Haid 
reported he was "suffering agonies" trying to keep staffing at 
minimum levels. Nevertheless, he told Gibbons, so poor were the 
candidates he had received, that he resolved, "I will take no more 
Priests [who had been ordained originally for other jurisdictions], no 
matter who recommends them." He was just thankful, "My Fathers 
in the Abbey are more than willing to help me." 78 Haid did not realize 
that Gibbons had been forced to resolve to keep higher standards in 
selecting vicariate priests during his own tenure as Vicar Apostolic. 79 
He did not succeed either. 

Leo Haid did not persevere in his intentions regarding the selection 
of personnel. Neither of his jurisdictions seemed able to afford that 
luxury. His apostolic endeavors were expanding too rapidly for the 
demands of discretion to be indulged. His commitments were too 
broad. "Our work is increasing much faster than the workers," he 
wrote the archabbot at Saint Vincent, and especially in the vicariate 
this was leaving me trying to fill holes, sometimes round holes with 
square pegs." 80 

In both jurisdictions, HaicTs age of activity produced an odd 
balance of spectacular statistical success weighed against disciplinary 
decline. "The idea of liberty, etc., goes too far," the bishop suggested 
to the primate, speaking of the American Church in general and the 
vicariate in particular. "Hence it is much more difficult to govern."* 1 
That did not really explain the Vicar Apostolic's problems with his 
missionaries, but it was as sophisticated a theory as he cared to create. 
For the monks who failed to persevere, however— and because of 
Haid's informal approach to record keeping the exact figures cannot 
be ascertained — the abbot gave a different analysis. Here, he thought, 
American acculturation rather than misguided democratic ideals 
produced a large measure of the problem. Benedictine priests 
abandoned their vocations, he reasoned, from these motivations:' 2 

1 . There's human nature...; 

2. We educate many gratis... The novitiate doesnt kill, so they follow the 
crowd.. .become discontented, find fault with 'cranky' Abbots...; 

3. Some had a vocation, but through worldliness...lost it; 

4. ...Parents, etc., are really without support; 

5 . Most frequently this [No.4, supra] is only a 'Plea,' a desire to throw off the 
yoke of vows is the real cause— but there must be some taffy to serve up 
to Rome — and off goes, this 'obligatio naturalise ' 

6. Some successfully hide their meanness... and when they get Trig enough' 
to stand alone they want to shake off their monastery...; 

7. Some lack humility...; 

8 . The condition [and spiritual needs] of the Church in America has little 
[influence] with these discontented monks...; 

9. ..A few. into the wrong car and should be helped out gently. 

It is unfortunate that the abbot discerned these reasons at the peak 
of his commitment to active life. For he had no time for dealing with 
such serious monastic problems while distracted by the effects of 
having the quantity of workers so liberally distributed, though so 
frugally in supply. 

The abbot did make one effort to deal with the problem, however; 
unfortunately it was not the most prudent gesture of his reign: he 
instituted an astoundingly open policy of admissions for Maryhelp. 
Monks from Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Hampshire, several 
from New Jersey, members of other Orders, men whose vocations 
had failed elsewhere went to Belmont for their second chance. To 
Haid this policy became a source of special pride. He saw it as both 
charitable to the monks who transferred south, and practical in terms 
of his own needs. But Abbot Leo received so many rejects from other 
places that by 1909 Hintemeyer had to caution other monasteries to 
slow the pace, lest Haid be embarrassed. "We have received many 
good men," he wrote, "but we must be careful, and it is [suddenly] 

harder to get through our Chapter for vows than probably in any 
other monastery— just now." 83 Several good men entered Mary help 
in this way, men who would later serve as priors, rectors, 
headmasters, monks gifted in music, education, and various 
necessary services of the cloister. But there also appeared a generous 
number who wasted little time before showing exactly why their 
vocations had been brought into question elsewhere. For these men, 
the abbot discovered he could save time by simply dismissing them. 
He possessed faculties to handle that; whereas, a dispensation would 
require an appeal to the Holy See. "Why carry to Rome what can be 
fully settled here?," it was queried.* 4 Nevertheless, Haid's personnel 
problems remained a constant feature of life at Maryhelp. His several 
Bohemians proved "a restless people. "" The secular priesthood 
frequently lured men away, 86 because "so many advantages are held 
out to secular priests and so few to religious." 87 Despite the number of 
men who entered, there was always an insufficiency. 88 Not only did 
many leave the monastery, especially for positions among the secular 
clergy, but death was also claiming Belmont's monks. Some men died 
young, too, "just when life's earnest work seems to be waiting for 
them." 89 And it took so long to educate the monastic clerics that Haid 
wondered if the future ever really held enough years of service after 
ordination. 90 

To these problems was added Abbot Leo's endless expansionism. 
"Our work is growing faster than our means of doing it," he lamented 
to the prior of Saint Vincent, "as candidates in the South are as scarce 
as blackberries in December!" 91 Secular priesthood candidates did not 
appear in abundance, but they did at least apply with some regularity. 
With them, the bishop mused, the problem came later, when there 
was no way to support them. 92 Yet through it all, Leo Haid's 
compassion dominated, and men who wanted to leave Carolina could 
expect to find the abbot looking after their temporal welfare, even as 
they abandoned their Church vocations. 93 

To encourage perseverance from the monks, Abbot Leo held, the 
emphasis had to be placed not on stability, but on conversatio. Without 
that quality, there would be no reason to abandon all the allurements 
of the world in favor of the promise of God under the austerity of the 
monastery. If there was no depth to the monk's conversatio, there 
would be no real commitment to his monasticism as a true, life-long 
vocation, and in turn there would be no stability. Abbot Leo 
commended six points in particular to the daily attention of the 
monks of Maryhelp, as an aid in encouraging the basic elements of 
conversatio which would in turn promote stability. Their key was daily 
manifestation: 94 

1 . Actual determination and effort; 

2. God's aid.. .Avoid above all, our hearts and minds getting away from 
spiritual things — from God; 

3. Pious reading...; 

4. Regularity in [the] Monastery. Don't excuse yourself too easily... 
[particularly from attendance at the] daily recitation of [the Divine] 

5. Honestly keeping our Vows; 

6. Assiduous Prayer. 

These principles applied to all the monks. After ordination, 
however, additional standards were necessitated, including true 
"devotion to duty,...toiling day and night," a "spirit of sacrifice," 
"infinite patience," and '^verty/tlisinterestedness." 95 Even when 
vocations were scarce, and as always the abbot associated the 
shortage with the comforts and amenities that surrounded the secular 
priesthood, Leo Haid emphasized that monastic life and its 
priesthood — both in intention and actuality — were more rigorous, 
more demanding, and more lacking in consolations than other 
courses young men might embrace. To some that emphasis on 
sacrifice did not seem the theme to attract American men to 
Maryhelp. Yet that is the essential principle — sacrifice — in Haid's 
understanding both of why young men would enter the monastery, 
and how after entering they could embrace such work as the missions 
without either losing God or compromising their vocation. Sacrifice 
insured a place for God in the soul, and thus allowed a broader scope 
for monks' activities, even outside the cloister. Abbot Leo also 
maintained that sacrifice was the quality that should awaken the 
movement of the soul toward God. And even in the midst of his most 
active period, and the greatest dearth of vocations, he was willing to 
expel men whose motivation fell short of the person of God Himself. 
No matter how active he might make their lives, Abbot Leo believed 
it was all part of the search for God. The monks simply had to trust 
the superior, who had "a wider, clearer understanding." The union, 
then, of sacrifice and obedience allowed Abbot Leo to avoid total 
compromise of monastic principles. And in establishing his new 
priories and clarifying the vision of his schools, Haid continued to 
evince the Benedictine standards and influence that marked his 
earlier years. When the changing attitudes finally achieved 
dominance, even in the Savannah and Richmond dependencies, it 
was less the result of Haid's theories than of the new orientation 
taught the young monks in their studies at the motherhouse. 

inteRests BRoaden 

The brothers were not completely overlooked in Haid's emphasis 
on his two staffs of priests. But their vocations, if not their discipline, 
tended to be somewhat quieter, and their activity — except in its 
fruits — less conspicuous. Nevertheless, because Hintemeyer, assisted 
by Alphonse Buss and sometimes by Ignatius Remke, took charge of 
the non-ordained monks, the abbot's relationship with the brothers 
gradually became rather generalized, in that he responded to them 
more as a group than as individuals. For that reason, though he was 
apparently paternal and compassionate toward them, there is a 
certain air of detachment in evidence. Typical of the stories that 
survived through the oral tradition is this one: 

Frequently in the afternoons [Abbot Leo] would walk around (with his 
cigar) the Abbey property inspecting the work of the Brothers on the farm, 
in the vineyard, in the shops, etc., giving them a word of encouragement 
and showing that he was interested in their tasks. He is recalled with deep 
gratitude and admiration. 9 * 

When, through the years, the brothers — outside of 
Bristow — melded into a relatively quiet group, the abbot gave them 
surprisingly little attention at all. Rather than their observance (an 
issue that kept Haid attentive to the priests), with the brothers the 
main problem was the discovery of sufficient candidates to fill their 
ranks as necessity demanded. Since German was the language used 
by the brothers most commonly — even in devotions — American 
candidates seldom applied for the brotherhood, and throughout 
Haid's time almost never persevered. Accordingly, just to keep the 
numbers stable, it was necessary to recruit in Bavaria. In 1889, 
Father Felix made a successful enlistment appeal while visiting his 
native country. 97 But a decade later, the expanding work of 
Maryhelp, plus the deaths and departures, necessitated delegating yet 
another Belmont monk to solicit candidates in Bavaria. 

The abbot decided to send Willibald Caspar Baumgartner, one of 
the founders of Maryhelp and a Bavarian native. That priest was 
only forty-seven in 1900, but he showed signs of exhaustion, plus 
nervous and other minor ailments. Almost half his life had been spent 
in the Benedictines' Richmond parish, but in the new century a 
change was necessary. There were three reasons that supported the 
deputation of Baumgartner for the Bavarian assignment: His native 
status and language skills, the change of venue demanded by his 
health, and the proprietary attitude he had developed toward the 
Benedictine sisters, a propensity which— it was suggested— threated 
the sisters' progress and security in the Diocese of Richmond. 

Haid announced the "retirement" of Father Willibald from Saint 
Mary at the close of 1900, and immediately found himself besieged 
with protests. A petition" was submitted to the abbot in January. A 
parish forum was convoked in Richmond by the laity on the 
thirteenth of that month. They sent a copy of the notice for that 
meeting to the abbot. It contained an ominous, hand-written 
appendix: "It might be of considerable importance to the future 
interests of the Southern Benedictine Society here to give this matter 
further consideration." 99 

The meeting featured an address by John J. Steinbrecher, a 
parishioner, who dramatically moved that Father Willibald should 

remain with us until his hair turned as white as the sands of the sea, 
and.. .when God, in his Omnipotence, shall see fit to take him away from us, 
we want the privilege of erecting a monument to him, that will be as lasting 
as time itself. 100 

A committee consisting of Gerhard Ross, Herman Evers, Henry 
Holzgrefe, John Amrheim, and Joseph Bliley was deputed to call 
upon Haid in North Carolina, 101 but the parishoners, though unaware 
of the fact, never had a chance of achieving their objectives. For 
although it was the abbot of Maryhelp who had ordered Willibald 
Baumgartner to his new post, it was Augustine Van de Vyver, bishop 
of Richmond, who had pressed for the priest's removal. The threat 
was that land in Richmond, intended by Van de Vyver for the 
Benedictine sisters, would be sold unless the meddlesome priest were 

When Baumgartner departed, Van de Vyver wrote Bishop Haid 
commending "the wisdom of your action.... Now we will, I trust, be 
helped and not hampered in our work." 102 That apparently was the 
case, since before the year was completed, and with Baumgartner on 
another continent, the Ordinary succeeded in encouraging the sisters 
to remove their motherhouse to Bristow, and keep only their schools 
in the capital city. 

At the same time, in Bavaria, Father Willibald was far too busy to 
interfere. He found it "very difficult to get candidates, at least 
desirable ones." 103 But in what evolved into a four year effort, he 
finally won enough postulants to Maryhelp to supply for the losses, 
and even raised the number of brothers from twenty-three (1901) to 
thirty (1906). 104 

It was the stabilization of the brothers' work force that enabled Leo 
Haid to further expand his influence beyond Carolina. The brothers 
cared for most of the household duties at the abbey, the farms, 
mechanical chores, and skilled labor and crafts. They were the 

domestic support on which the more externally employed monk- 
priests depended. So successful was Baumgartner, both in immediate 
results and in the initiation of valuable contacts, that for the 
remainder of the abbots reign the brothers, including their 
candidates, never fell beneath a total of twenty-seven, an adequate 
number for covering their duties. 105 

At the turn of the century, clerical monks were present in 
quantities roughly equal to the brothers'. From 1900 through 1911, 
the ordained priests totalled around thirty, after which time the 
numbers began increasing, centering around the low forties by the 
last decade of the Haid years. 106 The quantity of priests was closely 
watched by the abbot, especially as he expanded the abbey's 

Yet the number of available workers is only a secondary concern 
when monastaries analyze their quantity of members. In more 
apostolically oriented religious communities, growth in numbers may 
be a definite sign of success. But for monastics, the same standard 
does not apply. Because of the stable and familial environment a 
Benedictine monastery was supposed to create for its inhabitants, 
only a limited degree of growth would ordinarily be indulged. When 
the quantity of members changed substantially, either by increasing 
or decreasing, the quality, tenor, and manifestation of the monastic 
community were altered, too. Accordingly, each abbey tended to 
center upon a certain ideal size, particular to its own goals, potential, 
and facilities. When a monastery grew substantially beyond its ideal 
size, it founded a daughterhouse, and encouraged that foundation to 
seek autonomy and its own identity. If a monastery fell substantially 
below its ideal number, there would be insufficient personnel to cover 
its labors or to conduct the monastic routine in the abbey's customary 
manner. In either case— increase or decrease— the changed numbers 
would alter the flavor of the abbey's community life, as well as the 
manner of relationships and stability of practice which were so 
essential to Benedictine monasticism. 

From the buildings, choir facilities, and actions of the abbot, it 
appears that Leo Haid envisioned Maryhelp as having (ideally) 
approximately thirty choir monks (ordained monks, or those 
preparing for ordination) in residence at the motherhouse. In that size 
monastery, a variation of about seven members — either up or 
down — would be the limit of toleration, lest the character of the 
community be affected. Ideally, in 1900, Maryhelp should have had 
an additional five priests for vicariate assignments, two for Bristow, 
and at least three each for Richmond and Savannah, for a total of 
forty choirmonks. But the 1900 Ordo indicates only one abbot, 

twenty-six priests, five clerics, and four novices. Most of the 
adjustment came from charging the Belmont monastery its personnel 
so that all assignments elsewhere could be covered. And of course the 
choirmonk figures did not include the twenty-four brothers who 
cared for most of the domestic work at Belmont. 107 

In 1902, Maryhelp was at its ideal size. The catalogus for that year 
listed one abbot, twenty-nine priests, eight clerics, and two novices, 
exactly forty choirmonks. There were, in addition, the twenty-two 
brothers. But that was also the year the abbot re-entered the pursuit 
of daughterhouses, and determined to erect the Savannah work into a 
fully operative priory; Benedictine College— a military-preparatory 
school — arose there that year as well. This was the boldest gesture of 
Haid's post-1900 expansionism. For although the move paved the 
way for consolidating the Benedictines' activity in the city — spread at 
that time among the town, Isle of Hope, and Skidaway 
Island — having a priory and school, required that a minimum of six 
monks be assigned to Savannah, and the ideal quantity would have 
been ten. The abbot withdrew one monk from the vicariate, but there 
was little else he could do to juggle his manpower. There were simply 
not enough monks, and Savannah itself would not develop into a 
generous source of vocations until several decades later. 

Sacred Heart Priory in Savannah, however, did become — 
statistically, at least — the most outstanding apostolate at Haid's 
command. But its success reflected the abbot's maturation as an 
administrator, more than his prudence in insuring the priory's 
staffing. The plan for Savannah was simple and rather ordinary, but 
it orchestrated success for the foundation efficiently and 
expeditiously. This was the schema: 

1 . An academically sound boys' preparatory school, Benedictine 
College, was initiated immediately. Mclnerney designed a generously 
sized building that could be readily enlarged. The educational 
program was given four special aspects that lent distinction: military 
training (for discipline), forensics (to readily exhibit academic 
prowess), athletics (to encourage popular support), and thorough 
religious and moral instruction. 

2. A parish, Sacred Heart, was accepted in perpetuity. For this, a 
rough copy of the Abbey Church was built, complete with Mayer 
windows. The presence of a parish provided both a convenient outlet 
for the ministerial inclinations of the monk-priests and a ready body 
of Catholics who could be expected to support the monks in their 
good works. The switch here was important: these were parochial 
duties Haid accepted, not missionary ones, and that meant few if any 
men had to be sent away from the Savannah monastery for regular 


assignments. There was also, however, the unfortunate fact that the 
parish tied the monks to an urban setting where land was limited, and 
farming impossible. 

3. A monastery was erected, Sacred Heart Priory, where the 
monks could live the common Benedictine observance. To one side of 
the priory building stood the Benedictine College, at the other side 
Sacred Heart Church was built. All the apostolates were close, and 
some fidelity with the Regulars prescription restricting the monks' 
work to the environment of the cloister could be maintained. 

4. Regarding leadership, Haid showed the true extent of his 
administrative maturation. For the 1902 project, Leo Haid initiated 
none of the idealistic standards that had distinguished and would 
eventually help destroy Saint Maur. Sacred Heart Priory was 
founded along conventional lines. As for immediate jurisdiction, 
Bishop Haid planned to remain aloof from questions of internal 
governance. To take charge of the project, he sent the man who was 
then serving as rector of Saint Mary's College, Bernard Haas— who 
was, incidentally, the best administrator at Haid's disposal. Prior 
Bernard was a gifted, widely respected man, noted for his practicality 
and business sense, who was particularly beloved since he gave the 
abbot little trouble. At various times in his monastic career he 
transformed unproven schools in Belmont, Savannah, and Richmond 
into successes. But Savannah's was his most masterfully executed 
achievement. It opened in 1902 with twenty-one scholars; by 1905, 
Benedictine College had as many boys as Bristow; in 1908, only its 
seventh year, its student body exceeded even Belmont's. That same 
year, Benedictine enrolled more than a hundred students for the first 
time, and only twice fell below that number through the remainder of 
Haid's life. No single project of Abbot Leo's career ever matched the 
unqualified success of Bernard Haas and the priory, school, and 
parish in Savannah. The plan was Haid's; the execution was Prior 
Bernard's; the achievement was without parallel. 

In 1910, Abbot Leo designed another monastery /church/school, 
and once again he did it without the necessary manpower. At the 
decade mark, Maryhelp needed fifty-one choirmonks (thirty, 
Belmont; ten, Savannah; four, vicariate; four, Bristow; three, 
Richmond). However, there were only forty-three priests on hand, 
plus the thirty-six brothers. 108 But it was in that year that the 
opportunity appeared — admittedly less auspiciously than had been 
the case in Savannah— to erect a real monastic foundation in 
Richmond, and Bishop Haid was not the man to allow such 
possibilities to pass untried. So the monks of Richmond, already fifty 
years in possession of their parochial domain there, finally moved 

toward the canonical erection of the dependent priory of Saint 
Mary's. Until this time, though the rectory was called a "priory", it 
technically lacked that status — as had Maryhelp from 1876 until 
1 884 — because notarization of its creation had not been sought from 
Rome. The new arrangement in Richmond was to be similar to 
Savannah's, having a parish, boys' college-preparatory school, and 
the priory which would double as a rectory. 

The sequence, however, was different. In Savannah, the 
Benedictine College opened in September of 1902, in temporary 
quarters— an old building erected during Moosmueller's time. The 
next month, the construction of Sacred Heart Church was 
endorsed. 109 Foundation work was undertaken immediately, and 
Bishop Benjamin J. Keiley of Savannah laid the cornerstone. But in 
December, finances required a delay in the project. 110 Since the parish 
was more than twenty years old and had a wooden church building 
on Habersham Street already, there was no real urgency, and the 
delay could be readily tolerated. One year later, it was voted to 
proceed with the church, 111 and a bid of about thirty-one thousand 
dollars was accepted. 112 While the church was under construction, the 
new priory building was started at a cost that would total in excess of 
eight thousand dollars. 113 On 1 November of that same year, !904, 
the Chapter at Maryhelp met to discuss Father Michael's plans for 
the permanent school building in Savannah. The cost was estimated 
at twenty-five thousand dollars, a sum the Chapter would not 
approve; the monks also voted down a payment of twenty-three 
thousand, before finally authorizing construction of a twenty 
thousand dollar school building. Abbot Leo wrote Prior Bernard, 
''Nothing remains but to suit the building to the money allowed." 114 
The students were in the new Bull Street college building in the fall of 
1905. An additional floor, then an annex, were added subsequently. 
This was an uncommonly swift progression for any new monastic 
foundation to enjoy. 

Richmond was unable to advance quite so rapidly. Indeed, at 
almost every juncture the Virginia monks found obstacles that 
existed only minimally eight years earlier in Georgia. In 1910, the 
Benedictines purchased a full city block of property in Richmond's 
west end. Mclnerney designed the school, and it was built 
immediately. Classes began in 191 1 . While awaiting funds, the parish 
held services in the school, and most of the monks stayed in residence 
at Saint Mary, downtown. Father Michael designed a fifty thousand 
dollar priory, 115 but it was not built until the 1923-1924 school year, 
more than a decade after the educational structure. The parish 
church did not appear in Haid's lifetime. 

But the progress was not as smooth as even the list of dates might 
seem to imply, because unpleasant diocesan relations incessantly 
impeded the advancement of the Richmond project. In Savannah 
there had been problems with parish boundaries, 116 and Bishop Keiley 
wrote occasionally to complain about priests being seen at the 
circus, 117 about homilies, 118 insufficiently zealous pastoral 
undertakings, 119 the parish choir, 120 personnel, 121 the offerings in the 
school, 122 and any number of other, equally minor matters. But in 
Virginia the indelicate dealings between the chancery and the priory 
were more serious; they threatened the whole project, and they began 
at the very first contact in 1909. 

Bishop Van de Vyver had recognized that the need for a German 
church was not to be perpetual; whereas, the western section of the 
city of Richmond was developing rapidly, and would need a new 
parish to serve long-term needs. Accordingly, he invited the 
Benedictines to establish the new and more promising parish, with 
the understanding that Saint Mary, which the Benedictines held in 
perpetuity, would eventually be terminated, 123 though it would 
continue as long as necessary. 124 Haid found the proposal appealing 
for several reasons, particularly the prospect of growth and the 
chance to deal with the unsalubrious environment of urban 
Richmond. 125 There was a possible impediment, however, found in a 
recent Roman decree that severely limited the liberty monasteries 
possessed for contracting debts; 126 indeed, Haid rejected Van de 
Vyver's first overtures regarding the project because of these 
strictures imposed by the Vatican. The new parish promised to be a 
very costly project for Mary help. Finally, to insure that the 
undertaking would be worth the effort, the abbot insisted on being 
granted the new parish— first called "New Saint Mary", and later 
"Saint Benedict" — in perpetuity, and he wanted permission to erect 
another Benedictine college (really a boys' military, college- 
preparatory school). Van de Vyver agreed, but reserved to himself 
the right of approval over the land the Order of Saint Benedict would 
purchase for the new church. 127 The two bishops, Haid and Van de 
Vyver, were amicable and confident of the benefits to be secured 
through this agreement on behalf of the Catholic Church in 

The clergy of the diocese were less cordial about the concordat, 
however; Father Julius, described them as "hostile." 12 * The Diocesan 
Consultors met to discuss "the feasibility of establishing...[the] new 
parish to be given to the Benedictine Fathers;" the measure "was 
voted upon unfavorably." 129 But Van de Vyver ignored the priests' 
advice and on 10 January, by his own authority, approved the parish 

and school for the Benedictines. 130 Reportedly the secular clergy were 
furious, remembering the Warrenton affair earlier in the Ordinary's 
reign. But matters progressed too quickly for the secular priests to 
impose their reservations on the agreement. On 23 January, Abbot 
Leo instructed his Benedictine agents in Rome to see that Van de 
Vyver's petition was expedited. 131 The land was purchased on 10 
February; the Holy See acted on 10 June; 132 construction of the 
school began immediately. 

By the time Old Saint Mary was to be closed, however, Van de 
Vyver — who as usual had not committed his intentions to 
paper— had been succeeded by Denis O'Connell, and Father Kaup 
was directing the chancery. Regarding the technicalities of 
terminating the German church and removing the Benedictines from 
downtown, there was a profitable discussion with Bishop 
O'Connell, 133 then the expected contretemps with Felix Kaup. 134 
Father Mark Cassidy handled some of the negotiations, but 
whenever possible Bishop Haid himself went to Richmond to 
conduct these interviews and arguments, a move necessitated by their 
complexity and tone. Financial quarrels continued for years, 135 until 
Saint Mary was finally closed, and the Benedictines' operation was 
restricted to Saint Benedict on Sheppard Street. 

In matters of monastic discipline, the abbot was also willing to 
occasionally intervene in Richmond and Savannah; at least he 
seemed to do so more than in the special conditions at Saint Maur. 
But on the whole such action occurred infrequently. And his 
reprimands usually passed as general principles. For example, he 
wrote Bernard Haas a lengthy call to greater fervor using this 
approach: "Childlike love for our Holy Religion, our Holy Order, 
etc.," 136 he said, was sufficient to motivate assiduous attention to the 
standards of monastic life. If that were present, abbatial intervention 
should be unnecessary. A right attitude in a cloistered setting — as he 
believed he had arranged through the compact design of both 
priory/school/church situations — should serve to assure that 
Benedictine environment. 137 Then, "if we observe the Spirit of our 
Holy Rule, " and this directive he sent to all three of the Georgia and 
Virginia priors, "we will sanctify ourselves and be a source of 
edification to our people." 13 ' The interventions of Leo Haid were not 
readily recognized as commands. 

It was typical of the bishop's shifting emphasis in these years, that 
frequent instructions were not forwarded to his priors regarding 
monastic observance. Instead, the bishop most often wrote regarding 
financial matters. He also began emphasizing the theme that had 
intrigued him in the mid-1 880's— -theories of education. 

In creating the schools of 1902 and 1911, Leo Haid aimed at a 
more focused program than had been possible during the early days 
of the college at Belmont. The two high schools had identical daily 
schedules; 139 each was a non-boarding institution, without provisions 
for dormitory facilities. Each had a neo-Romanesque building, and a 
classical course of studies. The first catalogue in Richmond, for 
example, listed offerings in Latin, Greek, English (composition, 
rhetoric, literature), history (ancient, mediaeval, modern, American), 
civics, physics, and chemistry. 140 So important was this design for 
studies that the bishop even cautioned the Savannah monks that if 
they instituted the commercial course Keiley asked them to provide, 
they must "be careful Pest it] ruin your Classical Course!!" 141 The 
preparatory schools administered by the Belmont monks were to 
"educate, in the genuine sense of the word. The course of studies has 
been planned to educate a boy, to test and develop all his natural 
faculties, to develop habits of industries [sic] and thus to insure the 
acquisition of a thorough training and education." 142 

By "thorough," the Benedictines meant that there should be a 
breadth of training that exceeded academics and ordinary classwork. 
It needed to be, as Haid promoted the concept, both "mental and 
moral education... [by] conscientious teachers." 143 "Thorough" 
education became a key element in the abbot's designs for the proper 
enrichment of American youth. 

The environment the abbot-bishop thought would best encourage 
this thorough training was a cadet corps. A military program was 
primarily designed to teach discipline, but it also directed the 
student's attention toward the development of beneficial personal 
habits, while offering "every opportunity for the proper training of 
mind, heart, and body." 144 The abbot maintained that the cadet's 
duties would develop the boy "physically and mentally. It creates 
habits of promptitude and order, fosters self-reliance, and inculcates 
in the student, as part of his nature, manly ideals of obedience, 
loyalty, discipline and courtesy." 145 The result he expected was the 
growth of the boy into a moral, educated, disciplined young man who 
had acquired strength of will through obedience, while also being 
given "health and physical propriety and beauty [of] the body." 146 The 
boys at Saint Leo had first dressed in their grey uniforms on 10 
December 1 891 . ,47 A decade later, and again in the decade after that, 
the new preparatory schools established by Mary help incorporated 
the military atmosphere and influence into their program. While 
discipline and character development were emphasized as the 
rationale for the military program, the abbot was, of course, also 
conscious of the government monies such a program put at the 
disposal of his schools. 141 

Although a cadet corps was not an appropriate adjunct for the 
offerings of Bristow's industrial school, the abbot did long to institute 
a military program at Belmont. Only the lack of a drilling room 
prevented that innovation. 149 In its absence Leo Haid was forced to 
conceive a more sophisticated plan to insure the progress of his 
educational objectives. 

The governance of Saint Mary's College had proceeded along lines 
similar to the priories' schools. Haid was president of all his 
educational institutions, by which office he reserved to himself 
jurisdiction over policy, and over all major changes of program. But 
at Saint Mary's, no less than in Richmond and Savannah, the daily 
affairs of the schools were handled by a rector. Felix Hintemeyer, 
who taught in but did not administer the school at Belmont, tried to 
create the image of the bishop at his desk in the college, considering 
every element of minutiae that was at issue. But even if the abbot had 
been present enough to do that, it would have been inconsistent with 
his concept of governance. The rectors were the true administrative 
officers. Leo Haid did, however, maintain a taxing schedule as a 
teacher in the Belmont school, especially the seminary, but he taught 
only a fraction of the schedule attributed to him in the catalogue. 
And during the bishop's frequent and often prolonged absences, 
Father Felix usually tried to instruct the Haid classes as well as the 
Hintemeyer ones. Only later, in an effort to relieve the prior of some 
of this burden, did Abbot Leo begin leaving special projects for his 
students to complete or problems for them to solve in his absence. 
Hintemeyer's appreciation of the gesture has not been recorded, but a 
student later noted that this practice kept the young scholars from 
being "over-glad to see [Haid] depart for his missions." 130 

Julius Pohl had run Saint Mary's College as a small, familial 
institution. William Mayer, the rector during the two year interim 
that followed Pohl, made no substantial alterations. Bernard Haas' 
seven year administration saw enrollment and income soar, but 
produced little academic innovation. His successor, Eugene Egan, 
was a prudent, scholarly man, noted more for his charm and grace 
than his initiative. The one-year term of James Buchholz, the bright, 
young, Roman-educated monk who succeeded Egan, was 
overshadowed by personal concerns. But finally, in 1909, Saint 
Mary's College received the type of rector it had long needed. The 
new administrator was Thomas William Henry Oestreich, O.S.B. 
Working in concert with Leo Haid, he made the bishop's dream of 
"thorough" education come closer to reality than either Haas' 
practicality or the military ethos and environment had been able to 

Father Thomas was thirty-six years old in 1909. A native of 
Reading, Pennsylvania, he had attended Saint Mary's College before 
entering the monastery. When he announced his desire to embrace 
the religous life, his mother sent a message to the abbot, "Willie 
Oestreich belongs to you. If God gave him a Vocation he must stay 
with you. ..[We] give him to God and trust that God's Providence will 
provide." 151 It was a gift Leo Haid valued highly. He respected the 
faith and spirit of Frau Oestreich, but he also admired the son, who 
was scholarly, uncommonly mature for his age, and showed 
undeniable promise for the Benedictine life and work of the schools. 
As "F rater Thomas," he professed his vows on 30 June 1893; in 
1897, he was ordained a priest. The abbot then sent Oestreich, 
accompanied by James Buchholz, to study in Rome, where his 
intellect permitted an accelerated sequence of courses. He was the 
first of Belmont's monks to earn a doctorate, a degree he took with 
honors in history. His particular expertise was the reform movement 
under Hildebrand. The abbot would not allow his young scholar to 
accept a position in Rome, naming him instead to the faculty of Saint 
Mary's College and the seminary. He was also the abbatial-episcopal 
secretary. Oestreich continued his research while teaching, did some 
writing, and like Hintemeyer became noted for his loyalty to the 
abbot and to Maryhelp. He was also committed to Haid's vision of 
thorough education, and sought to advance that concept through 
Saint Mary's College from the time of his assumption of the 
rectorship in 1908, until poor health mandated his relinquishing the 
position in 1924, in favor of less taxing duties as head of the 

At Saint Mary's College, as Haid and Oestreich directed the 
institution, admission could occur at any point in the academic year. 
The student was simply "placed in the class for which his previous 
attainments may qualify him." 152 Most students came from points no 
farther south than Richmond. 153 After the opening of the academy in 
Georgia, it supplied a number of students, but the vicariate of North 
Carolina never was generous with its boys. Preferably, candidates for 
the schools were at least fourteen years old, 154 but students as young 
as ten, and sometimes eight year olds, were not uncommon. It was 
not required that students be Catholic, 155 but the boys did have to 
"present satisfactory testimonials of good moral character." 156 

Indeed, President Haid was primarily concerned, in receiving his 
students, that the boys gave evidence of moral rectitude. The 
academic prowess was to be developed once the boy was at Saint 
Mary's. Upon admission, the bishop was satisfied to find he had 
"average student[s], with fair opportunities." 157 But during a boy's 

career at the college he was expected to seriously strive for discipline 
and strength of character, and thus to manifest the learning, culture, 
and "thorough" development Haid associated with a Benedictine 
education. "Conduct of students" was to be motivated and regulated 
"by the principles of Christian morality and honor." That meant 
there should be evidence of diligent application, too. And "no pupil 
whose industry, progress or conduct is unsatisfactory [was to] be 
permitted to remain at the College." 158 In particular the boy who 
exerted a harmful influence over the other scholars, or one who 
proved "incorrigibly idle" was subject to expulsion. 139 
The students followed a set horarium: 

6.00 a.m. 



morning prayer, Mass in the College Chapel 


breakfast and recess 


study period 


class recitations 


extra studies (drawing, typewriting, music, etc.) 


dinner and recess 

1:45 p.m. 

study period 


class recitations 


extra studies (cf. supra) 




supper and recess 


study period 


night prayers and retiring 

Classes filled six days per week, but on Wednesday and Saturday 
afternoons the boys could enjoy recess until four o'clock. On 
Sundays, the schedule was different, and the boys were not required 
to arise before half past six o'clock. Students were permitted to go 
home for Christmas, but not for Holy Week or Easter. 160 

Haid, as the definitor of policy, insisted on these moral and 
disciplinary standards, but he gave Oestreich the liberty to develop 
and refine the educational program. Originally the school offered 
three divisions of study. There was a one year preparatory course for 
the youngest students. A commercial course, two years in duration, 
for boys interested in business careers, or a classical course of six 
years was available for the older boys. 161 At first the commercial and 
classical programs had enrollments that were approximately equal; 

the classical then came to be associated with men interested in the 
seminary, and the commercial division enrolled substantially more 
students. Around the turn of the century, however, that trend 
reversed, and boys went to Saint Mary's College for academics more 
than business training. 

In Oestreich's time, the whole organization of Saint Mary's was 
refined. The Commercial Department offered "a practical business 
education." The Academic Department was a secondary school, 
college-preparatory sequence. At the summit of Saint Mary's 
offerings by this time was the College, where Abbot Leo and Father 
Thomas sought to provide the breadth of studies and opportunities 
they thought so integral to good and thorough education. 

The Collegiate Department aims at giving the student such a general, 
vigorous and well rounded development of all his faculties, mental and 
moral, as will enable him later to enter upon his chosen life's work with 
ease, pleasure, and profit. Each of the studies pursued in this course has a 
distinct and peculiar educational value. History, Language, Mathematics 
and the Natural Sciences are complementary studies, and the mental 
discipline given by one cannot be supplied by another. The studies are 
carefully graded, and so classified as to be adapted to the mental growth of 
the student.'" 

For following these courses of studies, Saint Mary's would grant a 
Commercial Diploma, carrying the title "Master of Accounts," to 
business students; classical studies could win a Diploma in Letters. 
The College would grant a Bachelor of Arts degree to its students, but 
only if their scholarship included at least two full years of work in the 
department of philosophy. 163 

Haid and Oestreich later created a revised division of Saint Mary's 
offerings, in order to better accent the presence of the seminary. 164 
Then modern educational developments required a final 
rearrangement by the two monks in 1922. In that schema the school 
had four divisions: 165 

1 . The School of Sacred Sciences (the seminary) 

2. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (degree granting courses in 
philosophical, scientific, classical, or literary studies) 

3. The Academy of Liberal Arts and Sciences (high school department, 
emphasizing ancient and modern languages, English, mathematics, the 
sciences, and history) 

4. The Upper Grade School (a special preparatory program for students 
who did not meet the entrance requirements) 

Various special programs augmented the course offerings. In music 
there was private instruction (especially in strings and keyboard), the 
brass and reed band, the orchestra, and the Cathedral Choir. Father 

Joseph erected a photography studio and laboratory. 166 Dramatics 
and forensics were Haid's favorites. Once Irish-Americans started 
entering the monastery in quantity, athletics achieved increasing 
emphasis. For religious activities there were five separate groups in 
which to participate. Publications, literary and library interests, a 
variety of sports: the president and rector encouraged the broadest 
possible scope for their students, all built around the stable guiding 
force of discipline, obedience, and all necessary coordinants for 
granting the boy a strong, moral, God-centered character. 

Oestreich's special interest at Saint Mary's was the library. And he 
was devoted to the development of its holdings. While in Europe he 
had bought many volumes, especially reference and history works for 
the library. In order to save money he purchased the volumes 
unbound, and had the monks prepare the books for the shelves. 167 
Henry Ganss, the organist at the dedication of the church in 1894, 
was persuaded to leave part of his large collection of books to 
Maryhelp. 16 ' In 1914, and again after the First World War, Father 
Thomas toured Europe acquiring books in exchange for alms. At the 
same time, Julius Pohl was obtaining rare volumes with exquisite 
bindings through his wealthy friends, but Oestreich oversaw all 
efforts to bring books to Belmont, and even took responsibility for 
the works once they appeared. Through all these sources, Haid and 
Oestreich were able to place at the students' disposal a superior 
library for a college with fewer than one hundred fifty students. The 
history and theology collections were especially strong; philosophy 
was also good. There were incunabula; manuscripts were acquired. 
Marbled, gold-leafed, "ivoried," volumes entered the Saint Mary's 
library. There were works bound in leather, volumes with overlays of 
brass. Even after Thomas Oestreich retired from his college office he 
continued to send books to the library. 

Father Thomas served Saint Mary's as the librarian in a tenure 
that exceeded the length of his rectorship. With the sort of 
administrative standard that was so typical of Abbot Leo, Father 
Thomas was retained in the librarian's position, throughout the 
sixteen years the priest served as rector. Lest the breadth of 
responsibilities prove too burdensome, the monastic Visitators in 
1910, 1914, and again in 1920 instructed the abbot to remove 
Oestreich from his second job. 169 But Leo Haid could not bear to 
relieve his librarian of such congenial responsibilities. To soothe the 
Visitators, a "student librarian" was appointed to assist Father 

The abbot's most ambitious statement of educational vision came 
in the last major building of his life. It was a thirty -five thousand 

dollar postscript to the Saint Mary's College design, and was named 
"Saint Leo Hall". 170 Erected from Mclnerney's plans in 1906, 171 and 
designed to house a gymnasium, three hundred seat theatre, 
orchestra room with a full complement of music studios, 
photography dark room, and various academic and recreational 
facilities, Saint Leo Hall was intended to reflect Haid's ambitious 
vision for the path of higher education. 172 The building was not the 
sort of achievement that would incite admiration and national 
acclaim. It did not even receive the publicity or attention that greeted 
the grotto in 1891. But when it opened in 1907, it was a genuinely 
remarkable contribution to a county that had not been noted for its 
attention to the fine arts and culture. Because of the focus Mclnerney 
and Haid gave the building, it became a monument in its own right. 
And since Bishop Haid had positioned Saint Leo at the southwest tip 
of the college complex, anyone journeying between Belmont and 
Mount Holly had to pass by Saint Leo. Thus the new building 
became a landmark, as well. A Charlotte newspaper marveled, 

Belmont Abbey grows more stately as the years pass. The tree planting of 
days past has developed into the landscape effect that was anticipated, and 
the shrubbery and flowers give the appearance of "ancient grandeur." The 
Catholic monastery is one of the pleasure sights of Gaston County. 173 

These monuments that Haid erected spoke primarily to outsiders. 
But while the bishop enjoyed the awe his facilities inspired, and 
wasted few opportunities for promoting that effect, his own 
infatuation with edifices had faded since 1900. By this time, the 
bishop was expounding a far more sophisticated, theologically based, 
theory of education. And it sponsored priorities that buildings alone 
could not actualize. 

The intellect, in Haid's conception, was the "souPs unblemished 
gift." God gave man intellectual faculties; as the possessor of reason, 
man was constituted more God-like than other beings by the very 
form of his creation; in turn, the thinking person made the ideal use 
of his intelligence when it was employed to bring the soul ''near to 
Him." Properly developed and disciplined, while being augmented by 
the influence of faith, the intellect would not only assist in learning 
but would teach as well. Intellect and faith were the two principal 
forces for enlightening man. And in proper union, they also became 
appropriately ordered and oriented. That was especially important 
since "God Himself demands the first and principal use of my 
intelligence for Himself." The student had to be encouraged to avoid 
the "danger of burying ourselves in temporal studies," since the ideal 
development of human intellect and potential required, firstly, a solid 

foundation in philosophical methodology, followed by serious, 
disciplined application aimed 1) toward the grasping of some 
knowledge of God, 2) toward studying God, 3) toward meditating on 
the external mysteries and precepts. These, in turn, led to the 
incorporation of eternal values into the boy's adult life, and thus to 
an edifying, Christ-centered maturity. Just as each course was 
integral to the whole academic program, so every activity, rule, 
building, dormitory, and instructor figured into the whole 
educational schema. The church, the dramatic hall, the playing fields, 
the presence of the monks, the dedication of the faculty, each 
element was purposeful and integral in creating an environment that 
encouraged the union of faith and intelligence, and thus of man and 
God. 174 "The young man with a trained mind has ten chances where 
others have only one," Abbot Leo wrote. 175 Accordingly, his teachers 
were charged with instilling the discipline, knowledge, and rightly 
oriented values that would promote such an end. 

The professors in the college were Bishop Haid's key to a sound 
educational program. To as great an extent as possible, those who 
taught should be those who had developed their intellects and 
acquired advanced knowledge through scholarship; but those who 
taught in a college should also evince a true dedication to God as the 
ultimate object of the intellect, of life, of the soul. In his own 
circumstances, this usually meant that the teachers were monks. 
"Many rules [have been] given to teach us how to teach," the abbot 
told his novices, "Yet Saint Benedict in his intercourse with God 
found the foundation." The lesson Leo Haid drew from the monastic 
patriarch was strikingly similar to the instructions he had found there 
for monastic superiors: the approach should be reasonable ("an 
intelligent treatment of our scholars"), the essence of which was an 
example of compassion and understanding. This had to be shown in 
the monastery, classroom, pulpit, and confessional. And only 
through the monks' good example and their life of sacrifice would the 
breadth of knowledge the student acquired be transformed, and thus 
"improve [the] Divine gift of understanding" that was held by each 
young scholar— not equally, but — in a measure "sufficient if properly 
cultivated." 176 

To accomplish this good the instructors were to practice the proper 
"means of increasing [students'] interest." These were study, prayer, 
patience, fatherly care, humility, strength and justice 177 — a list, once 
again, that was similar to the mandate received by superiors. These 
were the official instructions the abbot gave his professors: 178 

1 . Remember you must not only teach your class, but you must prepare 
your scholars for a good and useful life on earth and for everlasting 
happiness after death. 

2. Be a model in words and deeds to those under your care. 

3. Be just and impartial... 

4. Don't be loud or boisterous... 

5. Avoid familiarity... Mingle the dignity of the Superior with the kindliness 
of the Father. 

6. Answer all appropriate questions; never argue... 

7. Never talk of matters not concerning your scholars. Guard your own 
reputation and the good name of others— College and Monastery. 

8. Be even tempered. Your humors, etc., should never be intruded on your 

9. Work in harmony with the Faculty. Personal disagreements must never 

10. Adhere strictly to your class periods. Dont steal from one branch to 
favor another. 

1 1 . Assist the backward student; the more talented require less aid. 

12. Be prompt and punctual in performing all duties... 

13. Prepare well for every class. ..Boys must have full confidence in your 
ability to teach. 

Whilst God rewards our work in the present, it prepares us to carry on 
His designs in the future! 

These standards for professors were intended to work in concert 
with the expectations imposed on students. Both objectives, with 
their vision and union, gave Saint Mary's College a clearly defined 
philosophy. There was some distinction in these theories, and a 
quality that made Haid appreciate his college's success even when 
enrollment was modest. Saint Mary's never developed the estimation 
that attended the Savannah school where the abbot was annoyed to 
have to report an "increasing reputation" that centered on the boys' 
"good looks and football." 179 

Because of his strong emphasis on the theory of education, 
manifested early and promoted by Oestreich, Haid was able to 
encourage an integration of philosophy and practice from the 
beginning. Saint Leo Hall was the grandest symbol of the bishop's 
educational intentions, but the message went deeper and was often 
expressed with subtlety. Father Thomas' and Abbot Leo's conviction 
that every dimension of the school participated in the boys' 
development came to be reflected in a variety of even very minor 
forms. For example, in a gesture typical of their approach, the award 
for excellence in mathematics, bestowed at the graduation exercises 
in 1902, was not a slide-rule, geometric table, nor even a theoretical 
work in the field. The mathematics prize — won, incidentally, by 
Mclnerney — was a volume of Milton's poetry. No opportunity for 
promoting well-rounded, 'thorough" education was disregarded. 180 

When the time came to place the educational achievements of 
Saint Mary's College and its president on exhibit, Hintemeyer 
conceived the first alumni reunion, and invited all the Old Boys to 
journey to Belmont for a common celebration on Thanksgiving Day, 
27 November 1913. There were to be Masses, speeches, athletics, and 
of course tributes to Saint Mary's College and to Leo Haid in 
particular. The reunion was the sort of public praise the prior loved to 
arrange for his abbot. By the time of the Solemn Pontifical Mass of 
Thanksgiving that highlighted the celebration, Hintemeyer had 
accomplished his goal: "When Bishop Haid entered the procession 
from the front of the church, he passed hearts filled with love and 
gratitude." 181 

As the major announcement of the gathering, the abbot informed 
the Old Boys that the name of the college was to be changed. 
Originally, when the alumni reunion had been tentatively scheduled 
for 1911, the new name selected was "Belmont Cathedral College." 
But in 1913, the abbot decided upon "Belmont Abbey 
College" — justified in the official programme as "a pretty title" that 
was "absolutely distinctive." The name also gave the college a clear 
association with the popular — though never official — name of the 
monastery, "Belmont Abbey." Of course, in making the change for 
the school, the abbot was careful to specify that the Mother of God, 
as Help of Christians, would continue to be recognized as the 
principal patron of the college, monastery, and church. The abbot- 
bishop's filial piety remained uncompromised; only terminology had 
been altered. 182 

the QRanfc toim 

The expansion sponsored by Haid was unchecked in the first 
decade of the twentieth century. The abbot became a familiar figure 
in the American Church, noted for zeal but not controversy. His 
problems in the Vicariate Apostolic were largely attributed to the 
jurisdiction's heavy burden, which had driven men as gifted as 
Gibbons to accept comfort elsewhere. The monastic troubles were 
mostly unknown outside the Order of Saint Benedict, and in many 
cases reflected difficulties common to Benedictine monasteries at that 
time. Bishop Haid expanded his interests to include political contacts 
in North Carolina, cultivating cordiality with men like the state's 
chief justice, Walter Clark, and an attorney who later won the 
governor's mansion, Locke Craig. 

Politics was not worthy of the abbot in Felix Hintemeyer's 
opinion, however; so in 1903, when the bishop was expected in Rome 
anyway, Father Prior Felix expanded the journey into a tour of the 
major Benedictine monasteries on the continent. This was intended 
to cast the Haid reputation in a more distinctly religious context. 

The original purpose of the trip was the execution of Haid's 
decennial visit ad limina, required of him as a reigning Ordinary. This 
consisted of an appearance at the Vatican where the bishop would 
report on the stewardship he had exercised over his territory since the 
last ad limina. Every bishop in the universal Church was expected to 
undertake his visits^ limina as scheduled, and even signed an oath in 
testimony of that intention at the time of his elevation to the 
episcopal throne. While at the seat of Catholicism, there were also 
certain required church visitations, an appearance— if it could be 
arranged — before the Holy Father, and in Haid's case, interviews 
with the primate and figures of influence in the Order of Saint 

This was an auspicious time for Haid to undertake such a 
triumphant tour. There were trusted subordinates at work both in the 
abbey and the dependencies; Hintemeyer took charge of the vicariate 
in the bishop's absence. There was, to the abbot's credit that year, an 
impressive statistical report, too, that promised to make for good 
conversation when asked how matters were faring in America. At his 
monastery, buried in the country's most Protestant state, there were 
sixty-eight monks (one abbot, thirty-two priests, eight clerics, two 
novices, and twenty -five brothers). 183 In the 1902-1903 school year, 
his educational work had flourished, too. The college at Belmont had 
one hundred eighteen scholars, its third highest enrollment to date; 
Bristow had sixty-eight boys, its second highest level; and the 
Savannah school, in its first year, had attracted twenty-one pupils, 
before jumping to thirty-six in the Michaelmas term of 1903. The 
Richmond high school at the German parish had closed, of course, 
but the parochial work there was flourishing. Saint Benedict, in the 
west end, was yet to appear. The peregrination would be attended by 
all the trappings of the abbot-bishop, his dignities, his prominence, 
and his success. 

Father Felix designed the itinerary. The bishop sailed from New 
York on 23 May, the vigil of Maryhelp. After being at sea for two 
weeks he finally reached Naples. From there he went to Cava and to 
Montecassino. In Rome he fulfilled the obligations that attended the 
decennial visit ad limina, and sought approval for the American 
Cassinese Congregation's constitutions. 184 He also had the pleasant 
surprise of a private audience with Pope Leo XIII. To Father Felix 
the abbot wrote, 

The Holy Father recognized me and received me most cordially. He seemed 
little changed from ten years ago; [and] spoke plainly and very freely... He 
gave [the apostolic benediction] ' 'ex intimo corde. ' ' Indeed he could not have 
been kinder — He asked me to be seated, but I preferred to kneel — as he was 
so very kind." 5 

From Rome the abbot continued through Italy, passed through 
Switzerland — giving Maria Einsiedeln a full week so he could fulfill 
the primate's request for a scrutiny of the monastery's 
prior 186 — toured Austria, Bavaria, and Prussia. He touched on 
England before returning to New York, more than three months 
having passed since he had last seen America. During his absence, the 
abbot had also visited the Shrine of Saint Walburga, sought Bavarian 
brothers, 187 sent instructions regarding governance 188 and 
assignments 189 to Mary help, and written the prior almost daily. 190 

The triumphal tour was exhilarating, and certainly complemented 
Leo Haid's new, active orientation. But on a more personal level, it 
enabled the abbot to secure something else he wanted very much — a 
special honor for Felix Hintemeyer. It was a gesture of friendship and 
consolation for Father Prior, and also, the abbot thought, an act of 
justice. The manifold duties Father Felix had accepted under Leo 
Haid had precluded pursuit of the academic distinction for which his 
natural gifts seemed to argue. He had accomplished some writing, 
both creative and scholarly, taught in the college, was the principal 
instructor in the seminary. But Hintemeyer had not been given an 
opportunity for pursuing a doctoral degree. That was the condition 
Haid wanted to remedy or at least acknowledge. 

Accordingly, at his first opportunity for a private interview with 
the Abbot Primate, Haid announced that he "wanted the doctor's hat 
for my Prior." 191 Apparently the primate responded with little 
enthusiasm. He did not presume to suggest doubts regarding the 
prior's worthiness, of course, but he also did not wish to initiate a 
precedent that might ultimately cheapen the other (earned) degrees 
the Benedictine college in Rome, Sant' Anselmo, gave under its 
pontifical charter. 192 Abbot Leo responded graciously, assuring the 
primate that the honor was sought through the Roman prelate's 
offices only because it would please the prior to have the degree 
issued by the Benedictine institution. However, the Carolina abbot 
announced, not wishing to cause difficulties, he would have no 
qualms about securing what he wanted from "the Holy Father 

Rather suddenly, the primate found all obstacles removed, and 
assured Abbot Leo that Sant' Anselmo would grant Father Felix the 
diploma and four-cornered biretta. Leo Haid immediately sent the 

news to Maryhelp, advising the prior, "You must keep your head 
from swelling or the Hat might be too small." 193 

Eight days later, on 16 June 1903, the abbot was annoyed that the 
degree had not been issued. But the primate was again concerned 
about the possible precedent to be inferred, and he delayed acting on 
his commitment. Months later, back in America, the letters from the 
bishop to the primate were growing increasingly terse. "You did not 
yet grant my faithful Prior and Vicar General the honor I requested 
for him!", he wrote in November. 194 And that same theme was still 
being emphasized the next spring. By this time, Abbot Leo was more 
determined than ever that Father Prior Felix was to be named a 
Doctor of Divinity. 195 And under pressure the Abbot Primate finally 
acquiesced and sent the honor — begging that Father Felix would 
"not [make] too public use of the honorable act of Sant' Anselmo, 
especially among the Order of Saint Benedict." Hintemeyer took the 
doctoral oath and donned the hat on 14 June, at which time he 
reportedly cried at this evidence of his abbot's munificence, charity, 
and affection. 196 

pateR familias 

Approaching the twenty -fifth jubilee of the abbey's erection and 
his own elevation to the abbatial dignity, Leo Haid might have 
expected the veneration appropriate to a Benedictine patriarch. The 
abbot of Belmont, whose children were spread through three states, 
whose monasteries were thriving, whose episcopal character 
enhanced his prestige, whose daughterhouses stood in all but one of 
the southern states of the eastern seaboard, was the most influential 
abbot then reigning in America. Many factors had conspired to 
secure his reputation: the joint office as abbot-bishop was unique and 
distinctive; his vast territory seemed beyond ordinary Church 
governance, and his perseverance as Vicar Apostolic seemed to 
border on the heroic; the foundations in Bristow, Richmond, 
Belmont, Savannah, and Florida had all flourished and grown and 
earned respect; in Carolina the Catholic Church and the Benedictines 
in particular had for the first time won a permanent place, and had 
increased in numbers despite the thoroughly Protestant environment 
in which they existed; Haid's schools were all solid, and Hintemeyer 
had enhanced the bishop with a reputation for scholarship and 
pedagogy; the speaking engagements across the country had won for 
Haid repute as a man of orthodox theological tenets that were 
activated by a deep, vibrant spirituality; the occasional productions of 

Major John Andre drew further attention to the abbot's versatility and 
even brought that work back into print; frequent mention in the press 
imparted to Bishop Haid credit for success and distinction. Even the 
abbot's long, white beard, his monastic habit, his gentle eyes, those 
powerful, long-fingered hands, seemed to accent the venerable and 
fatherly essence that was his image. 

Only back in North Carolina were the signs of trouble in evidence. 
The Hintemeyer publicity of 1 897 had invited hierarchial suspicions 
upon Haid's activities and growing influence. In the vicariate, 
however, where Hintemeyer like Haid was deeply loved, such 
accusations had seemed unwarranted. And yet, the Vicariate 
Apostolic of North Carolina was not at peace. No large issues 
surfaced, but there was a sense of impending turmoil, hiding beneath 
appearances and propriety that were still polite. The restlessness of 
the clergy was the most obvious sign, but there were others, too. 
Lawsuits peppered the Haid years, mostly over issues of finances, and 
these too indicated a persistent problem. 

Indeed, financial matters constituted a sphere in which the bishop 
was particularly vulnerable. Income and expenditures were juggled 
by the abbot-bishop through a central repository. There was an 
episcopal account in Wilmington and an abbatial deposit in a 
Charlotte bank, but for purposes of practicality, the needs of the 
monastery, vicariate, and college were all handled in common. Bills 
were paid by funds on hand, and since all three institutions were in 
the service of the Roman Catholic Church in North Carolina, the 
bishop's principle was that God would provide for all the needs, and 
neither the Lord of Heaven nor the Lord of Belmont needed to worry 
about which particular dollar was intended for which particular 
institution. There was income that went to Haid's jurisdiction as 
abbot/bishop/frresident; there were bills that went to him because of 
the monastery /v icariate/college. God had given him these jobs; God 
made provisions for the necessities that attended his work; from those 
provisions the bills were paid. As for the priories, the abbot cosigned 
the loans, and accepted the debt, but the payments were expected to 
come from the daughterhouses themselves. On that, the abbot most 
strenuously insisted. He also expected each dependency to forward 
an annuity to Carolina. The monastery contributed manpower, 
educational personnel, Mclnerney's services, and certain monastic 
necessities like habits and breviaries to its daughterhouses. But on the 
whole, the priories were expected to support themselves and 
contribute to the founding abbey. 

There were various charges of malfeasance through the years. But 
in fact, matters were even worse than that evidence suggested: The 


complications from Bishop HaicTs irregular land acquisitions did not 
surface until after his death, when it was discovered that the abbey 
usually paid for lands, which were then placed in Haid's name 
personally, but with intentions left lamentably unspecified regarding 
their eventual incorporation into the vicariate for employment. 

Legacies also provided difficulties. For example, the estate of 
Lawrence Brown, a wealthy Catholic in eastern North Carolina, 
granted Maryhelp some income, but the gift was challenged by the 
family. The abbey lost in court, then Haid felt so sorry for one niece 
who had been excluded from Brown's beneficence, that Maryhelp 
began paying her an annuity — for which she did not reward the 
abbot with either gratitude or civility.' 97 Dr. O'Donoghue's estate also 
proved to be a problem, and the secular clergy grew increasingly 
suspicious of the bishop's financial dealings. 198 

There were also small lawsuits that proceeded from problems with 
land, other inheritances, and contributions that fell to Abbot Leo's 
jurisdiction. But Haid was simply too irregular in his bookkeeping to 
ever justify or definitively disprove the charges leveled against him. 
Despite subsequent suggestions to the contrary, North Carolina 
usually got less from Propaganda, Drexel, and other sources than was 
needed for its projects. Once the money came, the bishop paid bills as 
they appeared, regardless of the origin of the funds or nature of the 
need. He used the monastery as collateral and sponsor for the 
vicariate 's many loans. When the monastery had money, it repaid 
debts; when the vicariate did, it paid. The accounting was simply too 
desultory, and the approach too pragmatic, however, for a realistic 
charge of misappropriation of funds to be substantiated. Conflict of 
interest is a more legitimate accusation, but Haid believed that since 
without priests there was no Church growth, and since Maryhelp was 
the cheapest place for him to educate priests — to say nothing of 
sacrificing his monks to this inappropriate labor in order to take up 
the slack — the whole Church in Carolina profited by making 
Maryhelp a good and attractive school. At the same time, it was the 
abbey's duty to support and encourage the growth of the vicariate. 
Money received was granted to any project of Haid's that suggested 
the most immediate need. 

The financial dealings, more than any other issue, however, served 
to erode the secular clergy's confidence in their bishop. Open quarrels 
were mercifully rare. Nevertheless, the tensions continued beneath 
the surface, as Haid's apostolic decade brought quantitative growth 
to the vicariate, much as it did to the monastery. But Leo Haid was 
not sufficiently present to either constituency for his own peculiar 
and charismatic style of leadership to earn its best response. Then 

came the jubilee year of 1910; Haid and Hintemeyer campaigned for 
new honors and prestige, of course. But there was no honor great 
enough to quell or overshadow the animosity that finally surfaced 
over Benedictine expansionism. 

Chaptep Vll: 

A QRasp on SecuRity 

Benedictine monasteries, from the demands of their nature as 
expressed in the Reguk, exclude themselves from the ordinary 
avenues of societal intercourse. Their sense of separation, precisely 
because it does pertain to the nature of monastic life, is considered 
essential to their integrity. Benedictine abbeys are not intended — on 
the ideal level, at least— to fill an immediate role in secular life; 
accordingly, they seek a practical level of expatriation, so that their 
monastic ethos may thrive without the encroachment of alien 
influences. Charitable responsibilities toward 'the world" are met 
through hospitality, sacrifice, edification, apostolates like education, 
and primarily by prayer. For monasteries that accept missionary 
duties, these standards are usually compromised somewhat, but these 
adaptations are considered delays, temporary in their impact, and not 
actual changes. 

Mary help, especially as her missionary obligations grew, made 
most of the adaptations incumbent on monks engaged in essentially 
priestly responsibilities. There were the absences; the horarium was 
modified; parishes were accepted, and the Abbey Church itself 
received some parochial responsibilities. Yet like other Benedictine 
monasteries, Belmont was also conscious of two additional objectives 
within the goal of corporate detachment: autonomy and separation. 
The first was easily accomplished. Erection as an abbey on 19 


December 1884, granted autonomy automatically. As an abbey, 
Maryhelp — though part of the order of Saint Benedict — was self- 
governing and was expected to develop its particular observance and 
ethos. The American Cassinese Congregation sent visitators at 
intervals of approximately three years to inquire into the preservation 
of the Benedictine spirit. But unless there were flagrant or scandalous 
practices or the presence of factors that were antipodal to the 
Catholic faith or to morals, the visitators could make 
recommendations — supposedly morally binding though not juridical 
in character — but they had little actual power over an autonomous 

The other factor to which Benedictines were so sensitive was more 
subtle in form: The Order of Saint Benedict traditionally sought some 
separation not only from the world but from the interference of 
bishops as well. This last aspect was an uneasy effort for the monks 
because it pertained primarily to Church politics, and rested on a 
rather weak theological foundation. Essentially, there were two 
factors that influenced this desire for separation even within the 
Church: First, stabilization in a monastery's post-missionary period 
required redefining an already well-established relationship with the 
local diocese; the revision of this propinquity between the local 
church headed by a mitred bishop, and the monastery with its mitred 
abbot, raised pertinent questions of responsibility and apostolic 
legitimacy; these issues, in the monks* view, were not appropriately 
scrutinized by "the world" (those outside the monastery). The second 
factor was also recognized — and generalized — after centuries of 
Benedictine experience: to the same degree as the local bishop was 
permitted to exercise his influence within the cloister or on its 
members, would the monks find themselves called upon to function 
outside of their monastic clausura. In other words, if a diocesan bishop 
had authority over monks, he would probably use that authority in a 
way that would draw the monks outside of their cloister. For both of 
these factors, then — the need to redefine the relationship, and the 
danger of yielding too much practical recognition to the local 
bishop — the monks feared that too close an association with the 
diocese would compromise their freedom to pursue traditional, 
Benedictine values within the environment of the monastery. 
Autonomy was considered essential to the integrity of monastic 
observance; thus the abbeys of the Order of Saint Benedict sought 
and valued a genuine independence from the jurisdiction of the local 
bishop. They could not really support this desire within traditional 
Catholic ecclesiology (the theology of "church"); so they cast it as an 

essentially practical issue, created from the need to secure the 
integrity of the monks — who were vowed to a special and particular 
form of service within the universal Church. 

By Haid's time the monks of the Order of Saint Benedict possessed 
"exemption" as a universal privilege. This was a principle in Church 
law that, on the level of practice, recognized the symbol represented 
by the abbot's mitre. The head of the abbey, like the Ordinary of the 
diocese, wore the mitre as a statement of his legitimate prelacy. There 
was also a ring that reflected constancy with his jurisdiction; the 
crozier made reference to his responsibility for governance and thus 
for stewardship of the judicature assigned him; the mitre indicated 
rank and implied authority. Ordinarily, only bishops and abbots were 
invested with the mitre. The bishop reigned as a successor to the 
apostles, head of the local church. An abbot's reign reflected a 
patriarchal rather than an apostolic tradition, but as the mitre 
suggested, he was blessed as a prelate of the Church, and he held a 
real authority over his subjects, the monks. From the perspective of 
ecclesiology, it was an antinomy to have two mitres, each possessing 
the crozier, existing within a single diocese. Exemption satisfied that 
conflict, however, by constituting the abbot as head of an ecclesiola, a 
"little church." Whereas, the head of a diocese was an Ordinary of 
both people and place [his jurisdiction had its own territory and 
subjects], the abbot was primarily an Ordinary of persons. The 
monastery existed territorially within the diocese, but the monks 
were subject firstly to their abbot. The monks' exemption removed 
them from the bishop's direct governance in most matters, and 
subjected them to a mitred abbot instead. The bishop could 
legitimately intervene in the internal affairs of their monastery only if 
faith or morals were threatened, usually with an overtone of scandal. 
But this last factor, of course, scandal, was recognized as bringing the 
issues into a larger sphere, beyond the environment of the cloister 
anyway. The bishop could also act legitimately in matters that were 
within the prerogatives of his apostolic commission, such as insuring 
sacramental discipline, liturgical propriety, or doctrinal fidelity. While 
some details of exemption varied somewhat through the ages, the 
basic principle stood: an abbot exercised legitimate authority — 
reserved from episcopal intervention — over his monks in monastic 
matters; to the degree that the monks sought to extend their 
influence beyond their liminal status and character which Benedict 
had created on their behalf, bishops (as territorial Ordinaries) had 
greater authority and responsibility for supervision. 

In general, this was moot for the residents of Maryhelp. Since the 
abbot and bishop were one, there was no practical or immediate need 


to emphasize the monks' exemption from the diocesan Ordinary. But 
in 1903, the abbot and prior began devoting their attention to the 
transitory quality of this placid condition. Perhaps Haid might reign 
for another decade, possibly even for two. But with his death, when 
in all probability a non-Benedictine would be consecrated as bishop, 
conditions would change radically. No American monastery was 
more intimately involved in diocesan affairs than Maryhelp at that 
time. What would happen when that diocesan territory was governed 
by a secular clergyman? What would be expected of the 
Benedictines? These were highly threatening prospects for monks to 
face. The heightened missionary life of the Belmont Benedictines 
since the dawn of the century multiplied the problems. And as Haid 
surveyed the fervor with which apostolic duties were being embraced, 
and the activity-oriented vocations that were being attracted to 
Maryhelp — especially from among Irish-American boys in the 
Northeast — he would have been remiss had he not taken some steps 
to insure the independence of his monastery when the governance of 
the vicariate passed to other hands. 

Haid and Hintemeyer maintained that there were two possible 
courses. The first was that Abbot Leo should restrict the monks' 
pastoral activity. This was no longer feasible, however. The new spirit 
of the monastery, the needs of Haid as Vicar Apostolic, and the 
impracticably of again — and so soon — reversing himself on this 
delicate issue rendered an abdication of the Benedictines' pastoral 
activity impolitic. The territorial grant of 1891 also argued against 
this course, since abandoning those nine counties, barely more than a 
decade after they had been granted, would have required Roman 
approval and would have reflected unfavorably both at the Vatican 
and in America on Maryhelp and her abbot. 

The second option was even more difficult to arrange. It required a 
petition to Rome asking that the abbot of Belmont and his successors 
be granted a territory, constituting the head of the monastery an 
ordinarius loci rather than a mere ordinary of persons. This was the 
ultimate form of exemption, because it removed the monastery 
territorially from all existing dioceses. The head of the abbey was 
then no longer just an "abbot", but an "abbot-ordinary", capable of 
exercising a quasi-episcopal jurisdiction within his territory. The 
abbatial church would be invested with cathedral rank; the 
monastery would acquire an unparalleled security that should 
provide the environment for a maximum degree of monastic 
integrity, free from outside demands and intervention. 

This also represented the ultimate status an abbey could achieve. 
Whereas, titles like "archabbey" were essentially honorific and 

carried little more than rights of precedence, erection as a Cathedral 
Abbey carried actual power, authority, heightened rights of 
exemption, and practical faculties, as well as honor. It was a privilege 
Rome rarely granted, and it would be extraordinary for more than 
fifty such territories to exist in the world at one time. Indeed no 
abbey in North America had ever been raised to that rank. Haid and 
Hintemeyer agreed, however, that this status was the best answer for 
averting Maryhelp's anticipated problems with exemption, and they 
decided to seek it as the foundation of their monastery's future 

Under Church law, erection as a Cathedral Abbey constituted the 
monastery vere nullius diocesis, territorially and juridically "of no 
diocese." 1 A monastery and its territory formed an "abbatial 
'diocese'" — actually it was on a par with a diocese rather than 
composing one in the fullest sense 2 — usually small in size, sometimes 
comprising only the grounds of the monastery. 3 At this time, an 
abbey nullius still held a subdiocesan character under the law, but the 
revision of the Codex Iuris Canonici had already begun (1904), and with 
the promulgation in 1917 of the new code of Church law, these 
monastic territories became quasi-diocesan. 4 Nevertheless, under 
both the old and the revised codes, the essence of what constituted a 
nullius diocesis— separation— was sufficient to achieve the ultimate 
exemption, and thus that assurance of an environment for monastic 
integrity that the Benedictines wanted. 

Especially because of the situation that followed on Haid's service 
as both the abbot and the local bishop, Maryhelp could not request 
the nullius status on the basis of a need for an abbatial 'diocese'. A 
petition for the separation, if based on reasons of need, would 
necessarily imply that in his dual jurisdiction Haid lacked the 
concinnity his reputation suggested. If the monks intimated a current 
condition that was bifurcated through contention, the abbey's 
reputation and that of the abbot would suffer. Accordingly, 
Hintemeyer recommended that the bestowal of the nullius should be 
sought primarily as an honor, the crowning achievement of Leo 
Haid's monastic administration. The rank and the deserved prestige 
were to be emphasized. They argued that the American Cassinese 
Congregation already had an archabbey, and a second with that title 
would be inappropriate. They also observed that since Haid already 
possessed the episcopal character, to grant him a benefice inferior to 
his rank would be contumelious. Thus the nullius diocesis, constituting 
Leo Haid an abbot-ordinary, and carrying quasi-diocesan character, 
was clearly the appropriate honor for Belmont. 

Both the abbot and prior thought the nullius status would be readily 
granted Maryhelp. Haid considered requesting it during the decennial 
visit ad limina in 1903. He thought the Pope would honor him with 
the title of "abbot-ordinary", and he would carry that prestigious 
designation with him on the Grand Tour. So great was his confidence 
that he did not even bother to submit a preliminary petition in 
anticipation of his arrival at the Holy See. This proved fortuitous. 
The Pope was already considering two other petitions for the erection 
of abbeys nullius. And in Rome the primate and other Benedictines 
with curial contacts and influence all advised Haid against such a 
cavalier approach to so great an honor. It would be embarrassing 
enough that Haid, as his monastery's local bishop, would have to be 
the party who submitted the petition requesting honors for his abbey 
and thus himself, but at least the groundwork could — and 
should — be laid by others. And when Haid went to the Propaganda 
to grant his superscription to the request of the Canadian 
Benedictines for some missionary rights in perpetuum, he discovered 
just how reluctant Rome was to grant territorial concessions to the 
Order of Saint Benedict during those final days of the reign of Leo 
XIII. Accordingly, Haid prudently filed no petition on behalf of 
himself or his abbey. 5 

The Benedictines in Rome advised Abbot Leo that the petition 
seeking the nullius, since it was being cast as an honor more than as a 
necessary pastoral arrangement, would be more favorably received in 
connection with some occasion of special significance at Belmont. It 
would be more appropriate and opportune for Rome to bestow an 
honor as a specific recognition than as a general acknowledgment. 
Accordingly, Haid focused on 1909, the silver jubilee year of the 
abbatial erection of Maryhelp, as the occasion for Rome to honor the 
American Church with its first abbatia nullius. 

f he missionary character and the determined effort on his part to 
stabilize finances enhanced the reputation of the abbot-bishop and his 
two jurisdictions, and thus added plausibility and rationality to the 
request for an honor. The extensive journeys and public appeals, the 
daughterhouses and schools, all of these heightened Haid's visibility 
and appeal on a national level. He was increasingly identified with 
the sacrificial character of a missionary and the mystery of a monk, 
an image that was enhanced by the long, white beard that dominated 
his appearance. His face was marked now by deep lines; his voice was 
still strong and his presence charismatic. The abbot-bishop looked 
and acted the part of the venerable vir dei. All of these factors 
reinforced his popular image. There was also the admirable statistical 
record of his reign, of which he had boasted in Europe in 1 903 . It was 

an ideal time for Leo Haid to appear as a candidate for special 
recognition by the Holy See. 

One of the most notable achievements to the abbot's credit in this 
period was the redemption of Maryhelp from serious debt. In 1898, 
the abbey's accumulated deficit was almost twenty-nine thousand 
dollars, 6 and that total did not include the debts owed at the 
dependencies and on loans for churches in the vicariate. But in the 
missionary period Haid gave close attention to the solvency of his 
monastery. In 1900 his expenditures for travel more than doubled. In 
1901, he spent more money seeking aid than he received in 
contributions. But by 1902, his efforts began to bear fruit; donations 
were reported in black ink, and more than two thousand dollars could 
be applied to the debt. The abbot was indefatigable in this effort, and 
in 1909, though individual parishes had outstanding liabilities, and 
the Savannah priory alone was trying to satisfy a debt of fifteen 
thousand dollars, 7 of the monastery and vicariate— the mother 
institutions— Haid could write the Abbot Primate, "We are nearly 
free of debt.'* Concerted effort won a dramatic reversal of his abbey's 
financial status. 

Solvency further legitimized the growth of which Belmont boasted. 
And in 1908, as scheduled almost five years earlier, contacts were 
initiated as paviors for anullius diocese of Belmont. Felix Hintemeyer, 
as Vicar General of the vicariate, was deputed to present the petition 
in Rome, and all of his organizational and diplomatic skills were 
applied to this effort to supply "our Monastery [with a] solid future 
foundation." 9 He departed from the abbey in late spring, even before 
the school term ended, in order to promote the petition. 

The first stop was in Baltimore where Hintemeyer was Cardinal 
Gibbons' guest and was permitted a lengthy audience. The breach of 
etiquette from 1891 , whereby the metropolitan of Baltimore had not 
been properly advised of the Roman petition of his Carolina 
suffragan, was not to be repeated. Hintemeyer played on the 
Cardinal's vanity throughout the interview, and through that 
approach achieved considerable success. Gibbons argued that a 
Diocese of Charlotte would constitute a better petition than an abbatia 
nullius, since he doubted that an abbatial 'diocese' would work any 
better in America than it had in England. Father Felix corrected the 
inaccuracies of the Cardinal's historical reflections — noting "that 
England never had such an arrangement" — then 

made it plain to him, what we want, and what we deserve. I laid special stress 
upon the fact, that he was the "Founder" and he should crown his work 
with getting for us, what we ask for. Then like by spiration he lightened 

up— and said, "Yes, I will do what I can." He asked me to remain in Rome, 
till he arrives— which will be about July 30th. 10 

With Gibbons' support so handily won, the Vicar General envisioned 
a clear path to Roman approval. In order to expedite matters he 
decided to abbreviate his proposed excursion to Bavaria, and 
announced to the primate his intention to reach Rome as soon as 
possible. 11 

The Baltimore Cardinal had suggested that Hintemeyer, once in 
Rome, should seek local advice, formulate the petition in Haid's 
name, then submit it through proper channels" to De Propaganda 
Fide. Thus the curial officials could already be familiar with the 
request before Gibbons reached Rome and made it "his principal 
business." 12 Unwilling to trust too exclusively in the non-Benedictine 
procurators whom James Gibbons preferred, Father Felix advised 
the Abbot Primate to be prepared to use 'Tour Lordship's influence 
in Rome to accomplish what with the consent and good will of 
Cardinal Gibbons our dear Abbot and Bishop is aiming at." 13 

Hintemeyer also sent instructions to Belmont advising Haid to 
write the Cardinal. 'Dwell especially," he advised, "on the fact that 
this would be the crowning act of his work for North Carolina and 
add new glory to the Province of Baltimore-that Benedictines have 
ever been faithful in the Church, the support of the Church in 
centuries, etc., etc." Father Felix placed unerring trust in the 
susceptibility of the Cardinal's ego, but the abbot was also advised to 
respond to Gibbons' more trenchant objections. It was necessary to 
assure Baltimore, and thus Rome 

(a) that [the proposed nullius] will not cut up the state, and that future 

dioceses formed, will not be interfered with; 

(b) that this arrangement will not exclude secular priests, as the future Abbas 

Ordinarius may employ both religious and secular clergy-only that they 
belong to the Abbey; 

(c) that for the present the administration of North Carolina should remain 

as it is, though the abbatia nullius should be established.' 4 

Father Felix then left for Rome, while at Belmont Leo Haid 
commenced the second phase of the nullius effort, his own letter to 
Gibbons. By virtue of Hintemeyer's success, the abbot was able to 
avoid the usual gestures of supplication and petition, and write 
instead a benign letter of appreciation for the Cardinal having 
"graciously expressed a willingness to aid the Benedictines... in their 
efforts to have [the Holy See] declare Mary help Abbey an 'Abbatia 
Nullius.' " 15 

The abbot's presentation followed his prior's recommendations. 
Maryhelp, Haid wrote, "owes its existence to your Eminence," and 
the nullius would "crown your good work." The abbatial 'diocese' 
would encourage "renewed good will and self-sacrifice" among the 
monks, he reasoned, and lend "certainty [to the idea] that the Abbey 
will always remain the centre of an assured and definite field of 
labor." Also, the territory proposed would be more reasonably 
apportioned than the 1891 grant had been, in order to assure clear 
territorial responsibilities and access when North Carolina saw other 
dioceses erected. After the fifty years of the first grant had expired, 
the Benedictines could relinquish Rowan, Davidson, Guilford, and 
Forsythe counties; the proposed nullius would include the other five 
counties-Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Lincoln, Cleveland, and Gaston- 
and append Rutherford. The additional territory, the bishop noted, 
had virtually no Catholics. This geographic distribution would cause 
no interference when Rome created the Sees of Wilmington and 
Asheville in North Carolina. Indeed, Haid reminded the Cardinal, the 
future cathedral for Asheville was already planned, and Wilmington's 
was soon to be erected. As a final note, Haid expressed his 
willingness, according to the pleasure of the Holy See, "for the 
present [to] attend to the whole State as I have been doing," even 
after Rome created an abbatial See for him. 16 

Hintemeyer attended to his Roman mission until September, but 
without success. Although Cardinal Gibbons endorsed the idea of a 
nullius diocese, he did not fulfill the commitment to make it his 
"principal business" that summer. Accordingly Haid advised his prior 
to entrust the matter to the more expeditious intermediaries of the 
Order of Saint Benedict, and return home. The abbot also announced 
that the date of the jubilee celebration would be postponed until 
1910— so the abbatial erection could be commemorated at the same 
time as the jubilee of his abbacy; thus he also provided the 
Benedictine agents in Rome with an extra year for pursuing the 
creation of an abbatia nullius. With the change of intermediaries and 
date, the third phase of the petitioning process began. 

For the annual celebration of the Solemnity of Saint Benedict, 
Maryhelp usually scheduled one of its grandest observances of the 
year. That day, 21 March, was both the patronal feast of Western 
monasticism and the college's annual "Founder's Day," so the 
students and monks commemorated the feast in tandem. In 1909, 
Bishop Haid decided to further enhance the solemnity by inviting 
Archbishop Diomede Falconio, O.F.M. This prelate was the Pope's 
representative to the Church in the United States, with the rank of 
Apostolic Delegate. Coincidentally the responsibilities of his office 

included evaluating and recommending proposed diocesan changes 
and erections. 

By this time the Belmont Benedictines had decided, as Hintemeyer 
expressed the point, "It is useless to ask any favors from American 
bishops for Religious!" So with Falconio — a more direct line to the 
Holy See— at the abbey, Father Felix recorded, "we have not been 
idle." The monks saw that the delegate was exposed to the full 
expanse and grandeur of Maryhelp and to the adulation enjoyed by 
the Ordinary. Then, as the Vicar General wrote the primate, "Our 
good abbot-bishop and your humble servant had a long conversation 
with His Excellency [regarding] the Abbatia Nullius" Hintemeyer had 
been in contact with Denis O'Connell who knew both Falconio and 
curial processes extremely well, and had already arranged for the 
archbishop to be apprised of the many benefits an abbatial 'diocese' 
would bring to North Carolina and to the donation of O'Connell's 
uncle. O'Connell had also informed Father Felix of certain pertinent 
details of Falconio's background, so that the conversation could be 
nostalgically focused on the archbishop's happy early days in Italy, 
where he resided in the abbatia nullius of Montecassino. On 22 March, 
the day after their interview, Felix Hintemeyer recorded, the delegate 
"is heart and soul for [the nullius]; he sees the poetic part of it." 17 

Falconio advised the monks that they were right to trust the 
Benedictines to get the petition approved; the primate, he reasoned, 
would serve far better than the procurators used by the American 
bishops. The delegate even offered to receive the document of 
petition personally, "for perusal and endorsement." He said he would 
immediately begin "to interview the bishops of the Province of 
Baltimore, but he will not mind it, however, if they should be against 
it — 'The Delegation, ' he says, 'is for it.' 

On 8 April, with the petition phrased and forwarded, Bishop Haid 
wrote the primate. As custom required that the party requesting a 
Roman favor should cover all expenses incurred, he enclosed three 
hundred lira, to help with "any... trouble you may undergo now." And 
"later," referring to the taxa the Holy See would impose if the request 
were granted, he suggested, "we will be glad to defray all expenses." 19 
As a token of this willingness, the prior was instructed to forward 
another three hundred lira just two days later. "We will do our best," 
Father Felix promised. 20 

To the primate, Abbot Leo emphasized the importance of the 
security a nullius diocese would provide. 

...In order to encourage our religious for the future and preserve the spirit of 
sacrifice, under the present circumstances, their future should be secured 
permanently. This can now be done by making the "Abbatia Nullius, "...AH 
this can be properly explained to the authorities to prove that we are not 
selfish, but only desire what will really benefit the Church now and in [the] 
future. 2 ' 

Hintemeyer, who was still coordinating the nullius effort, sent 
corroborating documents to assist the primate in forwarding the case. 
There were photographs, a copy of the Brief from 1891 , a map. In his 
usual manner, Father Felix also wrote a letter keyed to the special 
concerns of his audience. This included a deft but specious argument 
regarding why the nullius petition requested two counties that had no 
Catholics in residence; this, he noted, was not really as outre as it 
might seem, since "someday the good Benedictines in Europe, driven 
from their homes, [may] want a quiet, healthy locality in the New 
World, where they can devote their life to God— here it is!" 22 

The Hintemeyer petition, submitted by the Abbot Primate, signed 
by Haid, and endorsed by Falconio, was dated 1 1 April 1909. It had 
the usual balance of diplomatic ameneties, prefacing a concise 
statement of the request, followed by effluent aspirations suggesting 
God's will and glory as the source of the request and the fruit of its 
approbation. The Benedictines wanted a nullius diocesis of Mary help 
to be erected for the perpetual glory of God, the good of religion, and 
the well-being of the faithful. Its territory should consist of 
Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Lincoln, Cleveland, Rutherford, and Gaston 
counties in North Carolina. Leo Haid was willing to accept, 
according to the will of God and the pleasure of the Holy See, the 
duties of an abbot-ordinary. Until the North Carolina dioceses of 
Wilmington and Asheville were created, he would also continue as 
Vicar Apostolic if Rome desired that service of him. 23 The primate 
submitted the petition, and the usual long silence began. By 
November, with no word received, Abbot Leo instructed his 
Benedictine agent to begin applying pressure. "The monastery," he 
noted, "is anxious." 24 

It was only at this point, seven months after the petition was 
submitted, fourteen months after Hintemeyer's Roman visit ended, 
that the investigation began. On 16 December 1909, Cardinal De Lai 
wrote Gibbons. The Baltimore prelate had already endorsed the idea 
of an abbatia nullius, and that in conjunction with the approval of the 
Apostolic Delegate, Abbot Primate, and of course the diocesan 
Ordinary in Carolina, seemed to virtually assure Rome's volo. De Lai's 
letter sought confirmation of Gibbons' satisfaction, as metropolitan, 
with the specifics of the arrangements for the abbatial 'diocese'. 25 

It is unclear whether Cardinal Gibbons had been uncertain of the 
territorial delineation the Benedictines had submitted, or whether he 
had merely remained tacit on the subject. The latter appears to be the 
case, since Haid had listed these same counties in his letter to 
Gibbons of 24 June 1908, specifying them as desired for the nullius.* 
Available documentation also fails to note whether or not the 
metropolitan expressed his reservations about the proposed territory 
of the nullius when he was in Rome that summer. But on 25 January 
1910, Gibbons clearly stated his objections. 

He began by praising the Benedictines. Perhaps reflecting 
Hintemeyer's influence. Gibbons acknowledged himself as the father 
of the Benedictine mission in Carolina, then he recognized the labors 
of both the monks and their abbot. "They have performed the work 
most faithfully," he said, and "the present Vicar Apostolic, 
Monsignor Haid, is a zealous Prelate, and has done very much to 
spread the faith in that territory." Nevertheless, he argued, "after 
serious reflection I feel it my duty to say that I do not believe it 
expedient to grant the request of Monsignor Haid." 27 The reason for 
his objection rested on the proposed territory. As in 1891, when 
Mark Gross took umbrage at the Benedictines' acquisition of his 
parish, Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte were the focus 
of dissension. Gibbons found no fault in Haid's reasoning, but he did 
challenge the premises on which the arguments were based. The 
archbishop believed that when a diocese was finally created for North 
Carolina, the cathedral city would be Charlotte rather than Asheville 
or Wilmington. The See of the vicariate, Wilmington, was too far 
east; Asheville was not as accessible as Charlotte. That left the 
Mecklenburg city as the obvious choice for the future See of North 
Carolina; accordingly, its county should not be incorporated, he 
argued, into the abbatia nullius. The Cardinal did allow, however, that 
"if an abbatia 'nullius' be conceded...this should embrace" a real 
territory. Mecklenburg, he insisted, had to be removed for the sake of 
future diocesan growth, and if that county were excluded, Cabarrus 
also should be eliminated since it would be left bordering on no 
remaining portion of the abbatial 'diocese'. In place of these two 
counties, Gibbons recommended conceding four others, ones that 
were not on either the Benedictines' lists of 1891 or 1908— Catawba, 
Burke, McDowell, and Polk. 28 Territorially this was generous, 
although since the Catholic population of the four additional sections 
was less than that of Mecklenburg alone, it was not as liberal a gift as 
it might first appear. The extraordinary element of the Gibbons 
proposal lay in the addition of Burke and McDowell; these caused the 
proposed nullius to virtually sever the state. If with this territory the 

abbey were also to acquire either Yancey or Mitchell counties, or 
subsequently the county of Avery that was erected in 1911, the 
western end of the state — at least eleven and perhaps thirteen 
counties — would be completely isolated from the rest of the vicariate, 
the Diocese of Charlotte, Asheville, Raleigh, Wilmington, or 
whatever jurisdiction Rome erected for those parts of North Carolina 
outside the abbatial territory. 29 Gibbons' recommendation was, of 
course, inconsistent with his own conditions imposed on the 
proposed nullius two years earlier. 

The Vatican considered Gibbons' recommendation, endorsed his 
judgment, then instructed Falconio to consult with Haid. The 
delegate wrote on 20 March, naming Gibbons as the adversary, and 
asking if the eight counties recommended by the Cardinal were 
acceptable to Belmont. 30 But the "good Bishop would not listen to it" 
Father Felix recorded, "and wrote a strong yet kind letter to the 
Apostolic Delegate." The Benedictines, it was mentioned, "have done 

everything in Mecklenburg County" and its omission "will greatly 

interfere with our work." 31 The proximity of Mecklenburg was 
cited — abbey property touched its border 32 — and it was suggested 
that "the good Cardinal [Gibbons]... is under false impressions" 
regarding the centrality of Charlotte to the diocesan development of 
North Carolina. 33 

The letter from the Delegate was marked "confidential," so the 
Benedictines were not at liberty to try to persuade Gibbons 
themselves, nor could the primate be addressed licitly regarding either 
this development or its details. 34 Thus for the present the Apostolic 
Delegate had become the monks' only possible channel for arguing 
for the territory they wanted. The Benedictine agents could, 
however, be addressed in more general terms. So the Abbot Primate 
received several letters from Felix Hintemeyer, who rationalized that 
the confidentiality had been imposed on Haid and not himself. 
Nevertheless, the prior, while giving instructions to the Benedictine 
agent, was still careful not to reveal the situation that prompted these 
directives. Authorization was given to bargain away Cabarrus. 35 The 
primate, Hintemeyer said, should also assure the Holy Father that 
secular clergy would be permitted to function in Charlotte. 
Subsequently, once the Benedictine primate learned of the situation 
with Gibbons through his own curial sources, the correspondence 
between the Roman abbot and Belmont became more explicit. The 
Gibbons proposal, Hintemeyer charged, was "a gift like an empty 
basket — no Catholics in it." 36 Securing Mecklenburg was to be an 
inflexible demand. And in that regard, the prior concluded, "We are 
certain that the case is in the best of hands." 37 

But due to the delay imposed by Falconio's restrictions of 
confidentiality, the primate lacked the time needed for acquiring 
Charlotte for the nullius. The Sacred Consistorial Congregation, the 
curial office whose recommendation the Pope would presumably 
ratify, had already informed Falconio that the Benedictines could not 
have Mecklenburg. The judgment of Cardinal Gibbons on that issue 
was not to be considered open to challenge. The Delegate forwarded 
that news to Haid and received in reply a letter insisting on the 
necessary role Charlotte played in the abbey's apostolic work. Finally 
Falconio was forced to explain to the Carolina bishop how Limited 
the remaining options really were. 

In regard to the Abbatia Nullius, as matters stand at present in Rome, it is 
impossible to expect the Mecklenburg County. Hence, should you not be 
satisfied, there is time yet to stop the proceedings. I fear, however, that if 
this chance should pass away there will be very little hope for the future to 
establish an Abbatia Nullius. Hence I do think it would be better to accept the 
terms proposed by the Sacred Congregation mentioned in my last letter, for 
as I understand it, it is rather for the honor of having an Abbatia Nullius in 
the United States than for the sake of having a large populous diocese. I 
expect an answer at once. If you think that it is not convenient for you to 
accept, say so; and I shall ask the Sacred Congregation to stop proceedings 
in the matter. 3 ' 

Haid resigned himself immediately to the delegate's counsel. The 
"honor" was sufficient to grant what the Benedictines had actually 
sought through the petition, namely territorial separation. But 
Hintemeyer, whose vision was focused on more immediate concerns, 
objected to the abbot's acquiescence. In the prior's assessment, the 
loss of Mecklenburg denuded the diocesan character and apostolic 
prospects of the nullius, and reduced it to an undistinguished future. 

Father Felix reluctantly wrote the primate, saying that he sent the 
new petition, whereby Maryhelp "requested" only the territory of 
which Gibbons approved, under "direct orders." 39 The prior's one 
remaining hope was that "some future year may present an 
opportunity of having 'Mecklenburg' added to us, which we ought to 
have, / cannot say in justice for we Religious have no right to ask for 
anything." 40 This bitterness implanted itself deep in Hintemeyer's 
pride, and a month later his rancor resurfaced. "We have no 'jus ' to 
demand," the prior said this time, and "can only suggest and request 
and [be] grateful, if the 'Honor' is given our Abbey." 41 

One other issue arose that spring, and it also vexed Hintemeyer 
more than Haid. Rome wondered if in separating the territory from 
the Vicariate Apostolic, the occasion might be opportune for 
changing the governance of the Church in the rest of the state as well, 

perhaps by erecting a statewide jurisdiction — exclusive of the nullius, 
of course — of full diocesan rank. The Vicar General sent Falconio a 
splenetic response stating that "if the Ecclesiastical status of our 
Vicariate be conclusively settled" the new situation could only 
succeed if Abbot Leo remained on the throne anyway. The previous 
year's Cathedraticum, he noted, the collection that constituted a 
bishop's annual income from his territory, was a paltry two hundred 
ninety dollars. The abbey, not the diocese, served as the support of 
episcopal activity in North Carolina. Accordingly, whatever was 
decided in Rome, "matters [had to] be so fixed that our saintly good 
Bishop could retain the administration W dies vitae? " And yet with 
Rome's current insensitivity to the needs of the Church in North 
Carolina, perhaps "there may be two bishops in this Protestant 
State." 42 Then to the primate Father Felix wrote, "Do try to have 
everything settled" — and materials for a possible, but never realized, 
final appeal to the Holy Father himself were enclosed. But 
Hintemeyer's most urgent request was just please don 7 let Cardinal 
De Lai write over to America once more." 43 

Once Belmont agreed to petition for what Rome had decided to 
grant, no obstacles remained to interfere with the erection of the 
United States' first Cathedral Abbey. On 11 May 1910, the Abbot 
Primate cabled Haid, reporting approval of the revised petition. 44 
Haid replied immediately, expressing appreciation and an intention to 
use the separation to support the highest monastic ideals, hoping 
"that our Abbey may not prove undeserving, as far as we can make it 
a model Home for Benedictines in America." He also expressed "our 
earnest desire to pay all expenses in Rome." 45 "But Father Felix, his 
disposition unchanged, appended a cautionary note reminding the 
primate that the truncated nullius could provide "almost nothing" in 
terms of "pecuniary income," since "there are not fifty Catholics in 
the Counties outside of Gaston." And the abbey was poor, and would 
be unable to make extravagant expenditures. 46 

Benedictine channels were operating more than a month ahead of 
Falconio's sources. So the Apostolic Delegation was not advised of 
the erection until June, after which official notice was sent to James 
Gibbons and Leo Haid. The letters to the two prelates were identical, 
except for an extra phrase in the Cardinal's notice, assuring him that 
"the territory [has] been limited to the extent recommended by Your 
Eminence." 47 Both Haid and Gibbons were satisfied with the results 
of the nullius petition. Hintemeyer began applying himself to the 
congenial task of organizing ceremonies for the jubilees of the abbot 
and abbey, and the erection of the abbatia nullius of Belmont. Surely 
this, a student wrote in the college's journal, "is the epitome of 
[Mary help's] history." 48 

The Bulla Erectionis was issued by Pope Saint Pius X on 8 June 
1910, and its motu proprio on 16 July. 49 On the whole, the documents 
contained nothing extraordinary. The territory was constituted as 
Gibbons had insisted. Haid was named abbot-ordinary, and permitted 
to retain jurisdiction of both the monastery and the vicariate, with 
the privilege of residing in either of the two "dioceses" for which he 
was responsible. The monastery church of Mary help was named a 
cathedral. The abbots of Belmont were henceforth to enjoy a "dignity 
like the episcopal." But the key phrase for Leo Haid stated that "the 
aforesaid Monastery with its attached territory should hence forth be 
truly and properly of no diocese for all effects of the law and 
immediately subject to the Apostolic See." 50 That was the victory that 
justified more than two years of negotiations. In that territorial 
separation, Mary help was granted the security and the chance for 
integrity that the abbot wished to bequeath as a perpetual memorial 

But there also occured in the Bulla a lengthy sentence, written in 
the obscure Latin for which scholars have so thoroughly criticized 
Pius X's chancery. 51 It suggested an unusual and unanticipated 
privilege for the abbots who would succeed Haid. 

Furthermore, We wish that the aforesaid Leo Haid, present Abbot of the 
monastery of Mary Help of Christians at Belmont.. .or his successors in the 
abbatial dignity should exercise also the functions and duties of Vicar 
Apostolic in the rest of North Carolina at the pleasure of himself and the 
Apostolic See, by which they can properly acquire this twofold office, 
namely of Abbot and Vicar Apostolic, and so long as this situation 

There was confusion regarding where the emphasis in this long 
sentence should be found. While it first appeared that Rome intended 
that all future abbots of Belmont would also hold the office of Vicar 
Apostolic of North Carolina, that seemed such an extraordinary and 
puzzling provision that the monks assumed that the phrase "at the 
pleasure of himself and the Apostolic See" implied that this future or 
continued union between the Abbots-Ordinary of Belmont and the 
Vicars Apostolic was merely a possibility Rome chose to mention. 
Based on that assumption, Hintemeyer assured the secular clergy that 
in terms of practical jurisdiction, there was no change to affect them 
or their work— except favorably, since the erection of the nullius 
meant the monk-priests should "be drawn in [from the vicariate 's 
territory] and their places supplied by seculars." 53 Only gradually did 
the monks come to recognize that Rome had indeed united the nullius 
and vicariate "so long as this situation [the existence of a nullius 
diocesis of Belmont and a Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina] 
continues." 54 

Because of their misunderstanding of this key passage, the monks 
did not at first comprehend why the acknowledgments they received 
from the hierarchy of the United States and the clergy of North 
Carolina were phrased with such reserve and caution. But their 
meaning and the document's would evolve with perfect clarity before 
the year's end. In the interim there were technicalities of Church law 
to be met, and though the nullius diocese was created on 8 June, it still 
had to be erected before it could properly function under the 
common law of the Church. This demanded that the Pope or his 
representative promulgate the Bulla at a public ceremony, part of 
which included a formal reading of the document. Haid would be 
officially enthroned in his Abbey Cathedral at this service, and 
formally constituted abbot-ordinary. Testimonies — actually 
authentications — that the formal erection had occurred would be 
taken, and copies of the official documentation were to be prepared 
and signed in triplicate for retention at Maryhelp, the Delegation in 
Washington, and the archives of the Sacred Consitorial Congregation 
in Rome. 

The Pope nominated Falconio to preside at the erection of the 
nullius dhcesis." There was a solemn pontificial Mass on 18 October 
1910, lasting two and a half hours, at which the delegate officiated, 
vested in red satin made "heavy with gold." 56 Bishops Northrop 
(Charleston), Monaghan (Wilmington, Delaware), Keiley (Savannah), 
Owen Corrigan (auxiliary bishop of Baltimore), and of course Haid 
were also in the sanctuary, as was Abbot Charles Mohr, of Saint Leo 
in Florida. 57 At the conclusion of the Mass, Abbot Charles read the 
Bulla Erectionis, then "bore it to where Abbot Haid sat on the southern 
side of the spacious and brightly illuminated altar, and presented it to 
him, kneeling the while and kissing the ring which is the Abbot's seal 
of authority." 5 ' There followed courteous remarks by Falconio: "This 
monastery, this work here, must become in time the wonder of this 
country...[Maryhelp stands where] twenty-five years ago there was a 
wilderness." 59 Next Haid spoke. Equally gracious, he assured the 
congregation that "the greatest merit belongs to others," not to 
himself. 60 In conclusion 

A solemn "Te Deum" was then chanted by the choir. The music throughout 
was superb and added much to the enjoyment of those who attended the 
ceremony. Accompanied by Father Francis [Underwood], organist, the 
orchestra played finely. The choral numbers were rendered by a clerical 
choir of sixteen select voices, and by a mixed choir, composed of boys and 
men, numbering twenty voices. Reverend Father Chrysostom [Zoellner] 
was choirmaster and Reverend Father William [Regnat] leader of the 
orchestra. The procession after the Papal benediction, retired to the strains 
of the "March Pontifical." 4 ' 

It was a grand day for Belmont, the culmination of the abbot's 
dreams for his abbey, marked by unparalleled honors and 
recognition. So extensive was the celebration that the other 
Benedictine abbots had been asked not to attend, saving their 
presence for the celebration on 24 November 62 of the silver jubilee of 
Haid's abbatial blessing. There was not enough room at Mary help to 
accommodate as many guests as the monks expected — a Cardinal, 
Apostolic Delegate, eight bishops, numerous monsignori, sixty 
priests, plus the Benedictines. 63 

But that was a problem that never materialized. The abbey was not 
as crowded on 1 8 October as the monks had anticipated. Gibbons, it 
was thought, would have to attend. 64 He was, after all, not only the 
supposed "founder" of Maryhelp, and a former head of the Roman 
Catholic Church in North Carolina; he was also the metropolitan of 
the ecclesiastical province in which this new 'diocese' was being 
erected. But the Cardinal of Baltimore, "on account of my many 
duties," was "obliged to forego that pleasure." 65 Nevertheless, he did 
send his blessing 66 and allowed his auxiliary, Corrigan, to attend. 
Others proved equally reluctant to support the Benedictine nullius by 
their presence. 

Even within the ceremony there appeared evidence of the tension 
that surrounded the creation of the abbatial 'diocese.' Haid addressed 
the assembly, ostensibly speaking to Falconio, with the pointed 
observation, "You have set your approval upon our Abbey by your 
presence." 67 But that endorsement was either less obvious to others or 
counted for very little, because open hostilities were about to surface. 

the Response 

In seeking the nullius Haid had told Peter Engel, "If only I could 
secure the future in some way, I would be satisfied. As long as I live I 
have more than enough, but people will come... who *know not 
Joseph,' and what may happen?" 61 Yet by 18 October 1910, "Joseph" 
himself had already fallen from favor, and had taken his followers 
with him. 

The conflict had arisen over that convoluted sentence in the Bulk 
Erectionis that linked in perpetuity the administration of the abbatial 
'diocese' and the Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina. The secular 
clergy labeled it the "Joker Clause" and accused the Benedictines of 
"having deceived us." Permanently uniting the two offices had 
bestowed on the Order of Saint Benedict the right of electing the Or- 
dinary for the entire state. And that ensured that the Vicars 


Apostolic would always be one of the monks' own number. It was 
perceived as the ultimate offense in a long history of the Carolina 
Benedictines' pursuit of power. The history of Catholicism in North 
Carolina was interpolated to show the monks' continuous thirst for 
control. In 1876, they acquired their first missionary responsibility; in 
1887, they won the episcopate for their abbot; in 1891 , they wrested 
nine whole counties from the seculars; since their arrival, the 
Benedictines had been seizing parish after parish, exiling loyal pastors 
like Mark Gross, all in an effort to promote their own glory and in- 
come. "This clause," wrote Christopher Dennen, one of the vicariate 
priests, "has crushed the zeal of your secular clergy." 69 

Out of courtesy to the bishop, most of the priests waited until after 
the celebration of 18 October to voice their objections formally, but 
the word had reached Haid early and had already destroyed the joy 
he thought the occasion would lend, not only to himself but to the 
Church in all of North Carolina. This is "some Silver Jubilee," he 
wrote to Peter Engel, and "I am heartily sick\ When all is over, 111 be 
on my knees in humble thanksgiving. I am keeping down to my 'Jobs' 
in spite of everything. Others are creating the fuss and fury." 70 

The secular clergy was convinced that the Benedictines had 
requested the perpetual administration of the vicariate, 71 and the 
furor not only continued past the jubilee festivities, but achieved its 
full magnitude in the wake of that celebration. "This clause will hurt 
you more than it will benefit you," warned Father Dennen, because 
"instead of the few counties named you have the whole State." 72 

Father Michael Irwin, who was one of the secular clergy's most 
loyal supporters of the work of the Order of Saint Benedict in North 
Carolina, wrote a charitable yet unfailingly cogent letter to Cardinal 
Gibbons expounding upon the turmoil in the vicariate. Irwin was at 
the time among those who believed the abbey had requested the 
extraordinary privilege. He did not, however presume to impute 
motives; thus his evaluation was perhaps the most objective of the 
several sent to Belmont and Baltimore that month. 73 All of these 
commentaries, however, including Irwin's, suffered from failure to 
gather all the pertinent facts before applying pen to paper. 

Irwin reported that the situation "has given feelings of dismay to 
myself and my brother priests," because they realize that this was not 
a new situation as much as a culmination of North Carolina's 
problems under the reign of Leo Haid. 'This service [by the abbot- 
bishop] of two masters," Michael Irwin reported, "has been the root 
of all our difficulties." 

All of us Missionary-rectors are painfully aware of the blight that has come 
over the affairs of the Vicariate on account of the divided energies of our 
abbot-bishop. We are ill at ease in his presence feeling somewhat like step- 
sons. We love and admire him for his fine qualities even while we say and 
feel this and would wish for closer union. But it seems impossible. 

The bishop's actions in securing the special provisions of the Bulla, 
Irwin believed, were invidious, and had destroyed morale in the 
vicariate while casting the diocesan and religious priests as 
competitors rather than co-workers. "He loves his monastery and his 
monks first," the priest wrote. "We are made to feel our comparative 
insignificance not so much by overt acts as by quiet and I believe 
unconscious contempt." Irwin accused Leo Haid of being precisely 
what the abbot had believed he should be: "Bishop Haid is 
undoubtedly a grand man, but he is a monk first and a Bishop next." 74 

Irwin also cited a story from earlier in Haid's reign, suggesting that 
the abbot had once decided to leave the abbey in order to be a bishop 
full time. However, the monks had reportedly persuaded the abbot 
against this move. Apparently, Irwin was referring to the proposed 
resignation during the Walter Leahy crisis, when the objections to 
the dual reign were proceeding from his other constituency. Fathers 
Irwin, Dennen, and Price all make reference to this story, but there 
appear to be no extant materials to document this explanation of the 
bishop's decision against the resignation. 75 

Irwin proposed that the best way of solving the crisis was to 
immediately erect the vicariate into a full diocese. He wrote Gibbons 
that the creation of a diocese would automatically end the abbey's 
hold on the vicariate, since the monastery could not enjoy the same 
privilege once the Vicariate Apostolic was suppressed. Father Irwin 
recommended that the See of the new diocese should be Raleigh, and 
that the usual argument against the erection-the lack of sufficient 
income for a bishop-was unfounded. The poor response for the 
cathedraticum, in Irwin 's view, was Haid's fault: "The people have 
been listless inasmuch as they knew that the Vicar Apostolic was not 
depending on them. Their love and loyalty were not fully aroused." 
When that changed, he told Gibbons, the support would appear. 
North Carolina merited a "more vigorous ecclesiastical policy than 
that which has hitherto obtained." And yet the man who was clearly 
best suited to lead the new Diocese of Raleigh was still Leo Haid. "He 
is an able and holy man and we would be glad to see him the first 
bishop of the See of Raleigh." This would be "a crowning glory to his 
singularly meritorious life." But he should be bishop without also 
being abbot, Irwin said, and "I do not think it likely that Bishop Haid 
will come out [of his monastery]." 76 

Christopher Dennen raised most of the same arguments as Irwin. 
But Dennen addressed his letter to Father Prior Felix. The response 
he received, written at the peak of the priori annoyance with the 
development of the nullius effort, suggested that Father Dennen 
merely wanted the episcopal throne for himself. Understandably, the 
secular priest took exception to that charge and wrote Hintemeyer 
one more time, sending a letter that was frank, honest, and 
occasionally brutal. "Don't believe all the pleasant things you hear," 
warned the priest, "they are not always meant.'* 77 

This letter raised a charge that caused Leo Haid particular pain. 
The abbot believed he had sacrificed all he possibly could, even the 
spirit and character of his monastery, in order to support the vicariate 
and spread Catholicism. But Dennen, suggesting that his words 
reflected the tone of the whole state, accused the Benedictines of 
using the vicariate for their own advantage and profit, to the 
detriment of Roman Catholicism in North Carolina. 

But now man to man let me ask you in all candor and friendship, if the 
Abbot of Saint Mary's were not the bishop for the last twenty-two years 
would the conditions surrounding your monastery be enhanced to the same 
degree as they are at present? Again had we a Bishop for the same length of 
time separate from the Abbot, one living among us, of missionary zeal, 
going about with the priests, employing his advantages solely to the 
interests of the Vicariate, giving that prestige which the episcopacy conveys 
socially, and spiritually, would not our condition today be far better from a 
temporal standpoint than it is? 71 

Haid was shocked by the ingratitude of his secular clergy, and their 
insistence on seeing the fruit of his double reign as a contest for his 
attention. How could an arrangement designed by the Holy See be 
criticized for accomplishing what it was created to do? The Church 
had grown; both the monastery and vicariate had prospered and 
become secure; bills were paid; the administration of Leo Haid had 
succeeded precisely where his predecessors had failed. He had 
persevered, too. The Catholic Church in North Carolina had grown 
numerically, in its quantity of charitable institutions, of churches, 
and personnel and members; it had financial stability for the first time 
since its creation in 1868. This contentiousness and competitive 
approach toward perceiving the well-being of the Church was 
abhorrent to Leo Haid; it had no apparent foundation in logic. Then 
the bishop was advised that James Cardinal Gibbons, the man who 
was primarily responsible for the union of the two mitres in 1 887, and 
who had instructed Haid on the elements of an ideal balance, was not 
unsympathetic to the priests' reasoning. 

HaicTs reponse to these charges was sadly characteristic, in that he 
had little understanding of the situation from any perspective other 
than his own. He thought that the monks, not the priests, were 
neglected. He saw a decade in which he had given himself 
overwhelmingly to the vicariate and its needs. There were the 
statistics that seemed to support the success of his work. Yet again, 
Leo Haid refused to admit the value of his presence, and he could not 
understand the charges of neglect that were arising from his secular 
clergy. He could not empathize with men who thought they were 
ignored, and that he had devoted inadequate attention to their needs. 
To his mind the vicariate had received even more than the Holy See 
apportioned when it assigned him the double mitre. The abbot-bishop 
still maintained that the diocesan clergy was called to a different life 
than he and his monks, and he did not understand the clergymen's 
reluctance to embrace, in his view, the sacrificial nature that should 
be the common bond between missionaries and monks; that was 
where their vocations met. Why, then, were the priests perturbed at 
the hardships of their missionary labors? Why did they fault their 
Ordinary because he had sought to fulfill both the commissions 
Rome had seen fit to impose on him? How, he wondered, could he be 
criticized for living vows he had made to God, a profession ratified by 
the Church, especially when to his mind he had stinted that 
commitment in favor of his episcopal duties? In essence, the problem 
was precisely as his priests had suggested: Leo Haid was a monk first. 
But the insolubility of the dispute did not rest on the fact of Rome's 
having assigned a divided jurisdiction, as much as it proceeded from 
the fact that the bishop believed probity and integrity demanded that 
he be a monk first, while his priests said that the episcopate held 
precedence. Each side chose the perspective that was to his own 
benefit, and neither was ever to be satisfied. 

The man who had won Gibbons' interest on behalf of the North 
Carolina situation was Thomas Frederick Price, who had a long 
history of stormy relations with his Carolina Ordinary. As the senior 
priest of the diocese, the first native North Carolinian ordained for 
the vicariate, and the only active missionary whose service in the 
state pre-dated Haid's, Frederick Price had emerged as the natural 
leader of the Catholic clergy in North Carolina. Price was relatively 
short, of ordinary build, with thinning hair, steel rimmed glasses, and 
a piercing gaze that seldom failed to catch the attention of his 
listeners. He was also an almost legendary figure in the state. His 
story included a dramatic rescue and recovery after a shipwreck, 79 
and a miraculous cure from deafness. 10 As a child he had served 
Gibbons' Mass, and that prelate had personally helped the boy in his 

pursuit of Holy Orders. After his ordination, Price was identified by 
Mark Gross as having all "the gifts of the good Missionary, good 
health, good sense, good manners, and a piety as solid as it is 
zealous." 81 Price was an indefatigable missionary; he took charge of 
the boys' orphanage that was originally to be situated in Belmont;' 2 
he founded two Catholic periodicals;' 3 but he also gave progressive 
evidence of eccentricities that caused him to separate from the main 
course of missionary life in North Carolina. The peculiarities ranged 
from an "antipathy to bathing"" 4 to his extraordinary request to 
abandon parish life and become a missionary to the state's 
Protestants; his goal from youth, he said, was to convert the entire 
state of North Carolina to Roman Catholicism. 85 Haid indulged this 
last request in 1896, after which Father Price pursued an 
independent course within the vicariate. He was a zealous missionary 
priest, but he was not disposed by personality to be part of a 
team— an unfortunate condition when one has a bishop who 
considers himself a "father" to his priests, and encourages familial 
correspondence among their number. In the opinion of George 
Woods, the last of Price's close associates in North Carolina and his 
successor at the orphanage, the priest "had a long smoldering 
antagonism to the wishes of Bishop Haid, which, while it did not 
result in open disobedience to his Ordinary, was the cause no doubt 
of many a mistake." In Woods' estimation, Father Price longed to 
enjoy the rights of a religious superior. 86 

It was that desire that led him toward the creation in 1901 of the 
Regina Apostolorum , an association of secular clergy that was intended 
to foster missionary vocations for the South. But the Apostolorum 
soon began sponsoring elements of common life for its members, and 
it acquired an overtone of exclusivity. Father Irwin joined the 
"Apostolic Company," or the "Apostolate", the popular terms by 
which the organization was known, and William F. O'Brien was also 
affiliated. From the beginning there were conflicts over authority, 
and the group's relation to the Vicariate Apostolic and its Ordinary. 
The Apostolorum shared grounds and facilities with the boys' 
orphanage, named Nazareth." And Price sought to exercise the 
prerogatives of a religious superior over the other priests there. They 
generally conceded him that privilege, but the bishop did not. When 
Price and O'Brien had finally submitted the Apostolate to Haid for 
approval in 1900, the Ordinary had been reluctant to endorse the 
proposal at all. Apparently, Price proposed himself as founder, fund 
raiser, and "superior." O'Brien would be the chaplain, and Irwin's 
service would be as Price's assistant. "The Bishop in deep thought, 
raised his hand to his head as if to smooth back his hair from his 


forehead and said, 'Father Price, I am a practical man; I do not have 
any spiritual light from above that priests should ban together in 
community life.' '* 7 The reservations of the bishop were based on a 
number of principles. Haid believed, of course, that secular priests 
had a different vocation than religious, and were not intended to bind 
together in communities. The vicariate could not afford to commit 
itself to giving three or more priests to a non-parochial enterprise, 
either; missionary needs were too great. Furthermore, as was 
theorized by Father Louis Bour, another of the vicariate priests, as 
Price proceeded through the various ventures and projects of his 
priestly career, Leo Haid lost confidence in the man's judgment; Price 
had persevered in his priesthood, but he had not shown stability in its 

The result was that Haid, who reportedly "hesitated to oppose 
what might be a manifestation of God's will," 8 * neither gave 
permission for the Regina Apostolorum nor did he explicitly forbid it. 
From the bishop's Benedictine perspective, where a subordinate does 
"naught but that which is commended to him," 90 Price should have 
relinquished his ambitions for a community of priests. But Father 
Price, educated by the Sulpicians rather than the Benedictines, 
understood obedience differently, and accepted the bishop's failure to 
forbid the work as a tacit indulgence to begin it. 

The struggle between these two men was archetypical of the 
problems in Haid's style of leadership. His Benedictine approach was 
never understood by his secular clergy, and the results — though 
apparently innocent on the part of the priests — infuriated the bishop. 
Irwin and Woods both recorded this conflict: "What Father Price 
wanted was a command — what the Bishop would give was mere 
advice or counsel." 91 Leo Haid "would not order," then he was 
"irritated when his counsels were not followed." 92 From Price's 
perspective, he was not disobedient; he had received advice, not a 
command, and he treated it as advice, not a command. 

Vincent Taylor, who was Haid's successor on the abbatial throne, 
later agreed that Frederick Price was probably not deliberately 
disobedient, but neither, this abbot noted, did the priest do what his 
bishop wanted of him. As Taylor perceived the situation, Haid 
considered Price irresponsible. Abbot Vincent, speaking for himself, 
considered the Nazareth priest "very strange." The problem was 
pride rather than disobedience, however, and Price's fervor was 
somehow linked to a proud venting of his own will. "Some self-willed 
people" Taylor stated, "are very zealous [only (?)] when following 
their own will." 93 

So Price organized the Apostolorum, and Haid declined to intervene. 
The bishop did not, however, consent to bless the cornerstone of the 
Apostolate's building for Price. He went to Nazareth in April of 
1902, gave his benediction to the stone for the orphanage chapel, but 
according to Price, when asked to bless the building for the Regina 
Apostolorum, the bishop "omitted it through fatigue.'* 94 Nevertheless, 
Price's fraternal organization of priests was undeniably indulged by 
the bishop, who did not order it disbanded and even permitted its 
listing in the Catholic Directory. Thus the organization acquired 
legitimacy. But Haid did not recognize it as being more than a 
movement. No priests who might affiliate with the Apostolorum could 
be ordained for or incardinated into its precincts; they would be 
priests of the vicariate not the Apostolate. This left Haid with 
authority to transfer the men elsewhere — a power disputed by Price. 
It also meant that the members of the Regina Apostolorum did not owe 
Father Price obedience under the force of a vow of religion. 
Frederick Price was never constituted a "superior", in the technical 
sense, while in North Carolina. 

Although the priest and the prelate had regular conflicts over 
personnel, it was not as significant an issue as it might seem, since of 
the men Price attracted to Nazareth, and whom he sent to Belmont 
to be educated, only one persevered. Father Price blamed his losses 
on the efforts of the Benedictines to undermine his ambitions, 93 while 
the abbot's perspective suggested that Nazareth was not attracting 
men with a genuine vocation. Indeed in 1910, when the nullius 
controversy was raging, Haid and Price were also quarreling over 
that one man who had persevered, George Andrew Woods. Price 
conceded that the candidate was to be ordained as a priest of the 
vicariate, then assigned to Nazareth. But Haid was reluctant even to 
ordain Woods, since the young man was virtually deaf. 9 * 

Unable to achieve official Church recognition for his Regina 
Apostolorum , Price had a civil charter created. It was formulated in 
terms that were intended to exclude Benedictine influence. 
According to Woods' account 

The founding and the ultimate aim for instance of the Apostolate Company 
was never explained to or ratified by Bishop Haid. The Charter of the 
Company, the By-Laws, the attitude of the... trustees all showed opposition 
to Bishop H aid's rights and wishes and it is likewise a fact of legal record 
that nearly all of the real estate was held not in the name of Bishop Haid as 
Vicar Apostolic but in the name of Thomas Price. 97 

And these land holdings and their buildings, which included the 
boys' orphanage, were substantial. There were almost four hundred 
acres, valued by Price at seventy-five thousand dollars. 9 ' 

It was in 1 908 that Price began the definitive shift from hoping to 
convert North Carolina, to a desire to evangelize the world. 99 This 
movement would eventually culminate in the creation of the 
Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, popularly called 
"Maryknoll." By the next year the priest's depression and 
dissatisfaction with his labors were growing. "I feel greatly 
discouraged," he wrote in his diary, "all my men gone, and my spirit 
broken." 100 In the autumn he conceived a plan to evangelize the 
students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but Haid 
declined to give permission. 101 Then in October, the priest decided 
that the goal of the Benedictines was not only to seize his property, 
but the whole of the Nazareth work. 102 In the following year, 1910, 
Thomas Frederick Price and Leo Haid reached the critical juncture 
in their turbulent relations. 

At the beginning of May 1910, the bishop went to Nazareth, 
"disposed to criticize rather severely," according to Price, the plans 
for a new building at the orphanage. Haid indulged the priest's 
desires, however, on condition that there be no debt for the vicariate 
or abbey — the same standard he imposed on his priories and parishes. 
Even Price admitted that, "altogether the visit was highly 
satisfactory." 103 But by the end of that month he had heard through a 
friend in the Richmond chancery of the creation of the nullius, and 
the entente was at an end. 104 

Rumors had first reached Price in the previous autumn, that the 
Benedictines were seeking the privilege of a perpetual territory. He 
had inquired of Gibbons at that time, and the Cardinal claimed to 
know nothing of the effort. Therefore, as the issue resurfaced in 
1910, Price believed that Nobody here seems to know of it." So he 
again wrote the archbishop in Baltimore, who he did not realize had 
endorsed the idea and even specified the enlarged territory of eight 
rather than six counties, complaining of the situation. This is to be, he 
told the Cardinal, "a great injury to the Church in North Carolina." 

It seems that the whole affair was engineered and brought to a conclusion 
without consulting one single person interested outside of the Benedictines. 
In fact it looks as if the whole move were studiously concealed from those 
interested. The history of the Benedictines in North Carolina has been a 
history of absorption of every thing possible. Steps of some kind should be 
taken. 105 

Gibbons, apparently, did not choose to dispel Price's mistaken 
impression. Then in June the news of the erection of the abbatial 
'diocese* was made public and official; that announcement coincided 
with Haid's advising Price that the ordination of Woods, because of 

his impediment, was less than assured, 106 further arousing the priest's 
fury. In July, Price was increasingly disconsolate; he was "dissatisfied 
with my life and work," 107 and he decided that his foreign mission 
endeavor needed to be directly subject to the Holy See, and not 
dependent on any one American bishop. 101 

In August, ten secular priests were summoned to Belmont for their 
annual retreat. All the vicariate priests could not undertake the 
spiritual exercises at the same time, of course, since that would leave 
the state unattended; thus some were brought to the abbey each year, 
and the rest made a separate retreat. Price was not among those who 
were to go to Belmont in 1910, but he went anyway. 109 Thus he was 
present on the morning of 23 August, when Felix Hintemeyer 
introduced the clergymen to the details of the new abbatial 'diocese', 
and explained how little difference, in terms of daily governance, it 
would make to them. Father Price was offended, and began 
wondering if it would be hypocritical of him even to attend the 
erection ceremonies in October. 110 

The next month Haid 111 and Price were among the North Carolina 
representatives to the Eucharistic Congress in Montreal. It was on 
this occasion that Price and the man who would join him as 
MaryknolTs co-founder, Father James Anthony Walsh, began 
seriously formulating the plans for their mission society. After his 
return to North Carolina, Price wrote Bishop Haid regarding the 
proposed missionary endeavor; the response was unclear. 112 So on 13 
October, just five days before the erection ceremony, Price went to 
Maryhelp. 113 The next day, Abbot Leo agreed in principle to the 
opening of a seminary for the missions, presumably at Nazareth, 
leaving the priest "in an ecstasy of happiness," according to the Price 
diary. 114 Yet on that same day he wrote Walsh, "I know that Bishop 
Haid will never concede the necessary conditions in North 
Carolina." 115 

Despite his misgivings, Thomas Frederick Price decided to attend 
the ceremonies erecting the nullius diocesis. It was an unfortunate 
choice for the priest to make. He was dismayed at what he saw as 
unrestricted Benedictine ambitions not only being allowed to subvert 
the diocesan future and ecclesiastical integrity of North Carolina, but 
even being celebrated. "It has been a time of rather harrowing 
experiences," he wrote, and it "confirms me, if I needed any 
confirmation, in the necessity of getting out of North Carolina as 
quickly as possible and establishing my mission seminary." 116 He did 
not, however, want to leave the state without first seeking to avert 
the proprietary progression of Belmont Abbey and Leo Haid. 'There 
is a storm of protest," Price wrote, "against continuing Bishop Haid, 

and the Benedictines and their rule ought to be ended." 117 The three 
Apostolate priests met at Nazareth on 20 October, but O'Brien 
disagreed with Price's intentions, and nothing was resolved. 118 

Then on the twenty-seventh, Price posted to his friend the 
Baltimore Cardinal a detailed evaluation of the situation in North 
Carolina. "The Secular Clergy are intensely indignant," he reported; 
thus he presumed to "[pour] out to you unrestrainedly my mind and 
heart." There were six principal points in the thirteen page letter: 

1 . Bishop Haid is held to be well suited for the position of Vicar Apostolic 
so far as his personal qualities are concerned, but he lives continuously 
separated from his Priests and people seldom going amongst them and is 
almost totally under the influence of the Monks. He never consults his 
Council and the Monks continually influence his actions and the works of 
the State. The Benedictines hold all the offices of the Vicariate. The Secular 
Priests who alone belong truly to the Vicariate feel very keenly that they 
are put below the Benedictines and made inferior to them. The Seculars are 
made to feel that they are tolerated only as sort of step children who cannot 
be well gotten rid of. His treatment of them at times has I think been very 

2. As to the evident fact that the Vicariate has been subordinated to the 
Monastery: The Bishop does not come out of his Monastery and devote his 
energies to the upbuilding of the Vicariate but subordinates the Vicariate to 
the interests of the Monastery by remaining nearly all his entire time in it, 
governing and upbuilding it and teaching daily classes in it and giving only 
a fraction of his time and energy to the Vicariate-hardly a fifty at best- 
directing the Priests mainly by letters. The works in the Vicariate are made 
subordinate to Benedictine interests.... 

3. As to the upbuilding of the Vicariate: It is so clearly impossible for the 
Bishop to spend practically all his time in the Monastery, governing it, 
upbuilding it, teaching its classes and absorbed in its interests and at the 
same time to seriously upbuild the Vicariate and push forward Religion 
amongst these two million people that it seems idle to dwell on the point.. ..It 
is a physical impossibility to be in two places at one time. It is a physical 
impossibility to be given entirely to two different works at one and the same 

4. Regarding the absorption of the resources of the Vicariate by the 
Monastery: So great is the tendency of the Monastery to absorb whatever is 
absorbable that Priests and people are very chary of allowing anything to 
come within the power of the Benedictines. For twenty-three years this 
absorption process has been going on and it is largely due to this that the 
Monastery and Belmont Church and College have been built up at the 
expense of the Vicariate-that is, by absorbing under one form or another 
moneys and resources that would naturally have flowed into the Vicariate 
had we a Secular Bishop.... 

5. As to the support of a Bishop: It is said by some that this Vicariate is 
not able to support a Bishop. I would respectfully point out to your 
Eminence that if we be given a truly Apostolic Bishop-and we want no 
other-that a question of this kind will never be mooted and that if we are to 
wait till we can support a Bishop of another kind we shall never have a 
Bishop of any kind to support as it is only with a truly Apostolic Bishop that 
we can ever hope to advance Religion in the State.... 

6. Another point which I think of great importance: The Benedictine rule 
has made itself so odious in North Carolina that there is a universal desire 
throughout the whole State to get rid of it.... 1 " 

Price supported these six points largely with rumor, innuendo, and 
other stories he had heard and accepted in good faith, but which he 
was not in a position to substantiate. These included factors related to 
the territorial grant of 1891 , the O'Donoghue and Lawrence Brown 
estates, the departure of Gross, and finances. The examples were 
unfortunate choices, since examination of the pertinent documents 
has virtually disproven his evidence; whereas, his charges alone are 
far less susceptible to opposing arguments. 

His first point regarding Haid is largely correct. The Diocesan 
Consultors were rarely if ever convened, and the bishop preferred the 
company and the environment of his monastery. The second 
argument, also, is basically true in substance, though the 
subordination theme is questionable. The abbot-bishop was partial to 
his monastery, but the Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina was not 
neglected; it too — like the monastery — achieved unprecedented 
stability under Haid's administration. If Price's reasoning holds, it 
could be charged just as accurately that the monastery would have 
grown more and had a better spirit had the abbot not been required 
to spend so much time outside his cloister. It must not be overlooked 
that when the Holy See created the double mitre, it ordained that 
both the vicariate and the monastery were denied a full-time head. 
For the third point, regarding the balance of time, the basic 
contention was valid, and the monks as well as the seculars criticized 
the bishop on this point. The absorption argument of his fourth 
contention is untrue. Neither entity, the vicariate nor the monastery, 
was successful before Leo Haid acquired the double mitre. It was 
after that distinction arose on behalf of the Catholic Church in the 
state that income, outside interest, vocations, and the promise of 
stability began to appear in an appreciable degree. It is not that one 
body grew at the expense of the other, but that prior to their union 
neither body was growing as it should. The fifth point, pondering the 
cathedratkum , is conjecture and can neither be proven nor disproven. 
The sixth, giving Price's assessment of public opinion, is a 
presumptuous generalization. And of course the fallacy that runs 
throughout Price's arguments is the image of the monastery and 
vicariate as competitors. Their Ordinary did not see them in that way, 
neither did the Holy See when it ratified the joint rule. It may even be 
the success of that dual jurisdiction that prompted the extraordinary 
provision of the Bulla Erectionis in 1910. Rather than competing 
against one another, Haid's two judicatures had won their success 
through their efforts in concert, focused by a single, mitred prelate. 
Indeed, perhaps the most peculiar aspect of the whole affair is that 
these complaints did not surface until the close of the most 
episcopally active period in Haid's career. 

All of these points, Price contended, were opinions prevalent 
among the secular clergy of the Vicariate Apostolic. But he offered 
his own reaction, too. 

...Their rule up to the present time has caused me to weep tears of blood and 
has proven a dagger that has stabbed my heart a thousand times. As to the 
future, I am convinced thoroughly that thousands of souls will be lost if the 
present policy be pursued and it seems to me that duty of the gravest kind 
before God to do all that we can to put an end to it as quickly as possible. 
That the salvation of a whole people two million in number should be made 
subordinate to the interests of a few Monks in a back-woods Monastery is 
so monstrous a proposition that I find it impossible to get suitable 
expressions to characterize it. That the vicariate of North Carolina should 
be made an adjunct to a Monastery sucking its life blood like a Vampire and 
built up largely out of monies extracted from it, that the Vicariate should 
have placed over it a Bishop of what is now practically another Diocese, 
who will reside continually out of it, whose attention and interests and work 
are almost entirely absorbed by other interests than hers, that this Bishop 
should be so placed that he can neither identify himself with the Priests and 
people of the Vicariate nor give but a small fraction of his time and energy 
to the Vicariate's interest so that it is impossible for him to upbuild it, that 
the salvation of two million non-Catholics should be placed under his 
jurisdiction when he is so absorbed by other interests that he can give them 
neither time nor work, that the Vicariate should be crippled by the 
continuous absorption of its resources and monies into a Monastery, that 
the continuance of all these evils is upheld under the false plea that North 
Carolina is unable to support a Bishop— all this forms a status of affairs 
against which I feel it my bound duty before God to work especially at a 
time when it is sought to bind the Vicariate hand and foot as long as 
possible to a policy certain to result in the damnation of thousands of 
souls. 120 

On 4 November, Price, Dennen, and Father Peter Marion 
appeared in Baltimore and presented a petition, 121 signed by 
themselves and the rest of the secular clergy in North Carolina. 122 
Gibbons marked the document Unofficially received," but gave it 
serious attention. A copy was also deposited with the editor of the 
American Ecclesiastical Review, who preserved but did not publicize the 
document. The petition requested the immediate erection of the 
Vicariate Apostolic into a diocese, thus effecting a separation from 
the nullius diocese, and ideally forcing Haid, regarding whom "we 
bear our cheerful testimony to [his] personal qualities," to decide 
which single jurisdiction he would retain. 123 

This was a very promising approach for the secular clergy to take. 
It was virtually inconceivable that Rome, after promulgating the 
Bulla , would recall it and impose restrictions on the Benedictines. But 
the erection of a new diocese was possible, and would allow all sides a 
graceful extrication from what had become an uncomfortable 
situation. Unfortunately, Price could not devote his full attention to 
the matter by this time, because the focus of his concern had shifted 

toward the creation of Maryknoll. And no other priest of North 
Carolina had the contacts and influence to advance the cause as 
effectively among the hierarchy. 

On 16 January 1911, as the proposed mission society kept the 
priest away from the orphanage with increasing frequency, Haid 
asked Price to submit a detailed report of the assets at Nazareth. The 
bishop still did not understand the degree to which the priest had 
sought to exclude his Ordinary from establishing legal possession of 
the complex; thus Haid acted with reference to his prerogatives and 
duties according to Church law, and in ignorance of the ramifications 
or the civil implications. 124 The two men also accepted on that day an 
agreement regarding Priced future. As he and Walsh created 
Maryknoll, Price was permitted by Haid to work outside the 
vicariate, but only on the condition that the Nazareth work 
continued and the vicariate incurred no obligations. 125 Apparently 
Leo Haid made no reference to the analogous situation of the bishop 
and the priest, each trying to cover two Church positions. In March 
Price circulated another petition, this one to go to Haid, but the other 
secular priests would not cooperate this time. 126 Then on 27 April, the 
Council of Archbishops in the United States endorsed the idea of 
Maryknoll, 127 after which Price determined to personally represent 
the cause in Rome, granting a welcome cessation of hostilities 
between Nazareth and Belmont. George Woods was appointed by 
Haid in June to be the director of Nazareth, and plans for the new 
building were halted. 128 

Apparently, it was not until 7 October 1911, that Father Price 
finally wrote Bishop Haid, explaining the legal status of Nazareth, 
and arguing that Woods could not serve as the superior. Price wanted 
Woods' services subordinated to his own role at the orphanage, 129 but 
Haid would not agree, and Price decided to leave the state 
definitively. Gibbons agreed to receive the priest at Baltimore, and in 
January of 1912 the incardination was finalized. 130 By April of that 
year, Price had convinced himself that he had been forcibly driven 
from his work in North Carolina. 131 

Thomas Frederick Price, with his prestige in the vicariate and 
contacts in the hierarchy, plus his antagonism and competitive spirit, 
had managed to destroy the Benedictines' elation upon their erection 
as a nullius diocesis. Far more significant, however, was Father Price's 
role in advancing a spirit of enmity in the vicariate that would color 
the remainder of Haid's life, and survive both men. In all charity, 
Price did not dwell on the antagonism with his Carolina Ordinary 
after his departure from the state, and there is little evidence that he 
worked against Bishop Haid during his Maryknoll years. The abbot, 

for his part, was pleased to see the Price situation subside, but he was 
left with the legacy of their struggle, a residue characterized by 
unwholesome animosity between the priests and their bishop, and a 
mindset that cast the monks and the secular clergy as competitors 
both for the bishop's attention and for dominance in the missionary 
effort of the Catholic Church in North Carolina. That tension did not 
evaporate with Price's departure, but at least his successor as the 
leader of Haid's opposition, Christopher Dennen, was gracious 
enough to content himself with reports to Baltimore, and to avoid 
direct confrontations with the abbot-bishop. 

Although the Benedictines had not been allowed to savor their 
victory in acquiring the nullius, the Carolina monks had secured the 
exemption, and thus the security their abbot had so earnestly desired 
for the sake of their future. These two men, Price and Haid, were the 
two greatest missionaries of their age in the Church in North 
Carolina, and it is regrettable that their efforts were discordant rather 
than harmonious. This was Irwin's evaluation: 

It seems that it was necessary for a conflict of men to arise between the 
Venerable Abbot of an Ancient Order with its mellowed traditions, and the 
starting projects of a holy missionary whose heart was ablaze with fire of 
love for souls... (There was an] inevitable deadlock [between these] two mosi 
virtuous minds of different traditions and outlooks. 132 

Price's efforts created an upheaval that was never resolved in Haid's 
time; the priest fed suspicions that survived him by decades. Yet, Leo 
Haid was still willing to concede the sincerity of Price's intentions. He 
wrote this evaluation in 1921; 

Father Price was a pious self-willed, ambitious man. Without [exception] he 
would brook no contradiction, nor would he take advice where advice was 
sadly needed. I gave him a free field to work in — but he always worked 
according to his own eccentric notions. I put up with more from him than 
any Bishop should — but I gave him credit for good intentions— and these he 
certainly had in his own way. 1 " 

Virtually all commentators give Price credit for being obedient. He 
did not understand, it is suggested, Haid's approach to governance. 
The Bulla Erectionis for the nullius, the document that provoked the 
priest's ultimate contremps with his bishop, contained a passage upon 
which Price did not comment in his letters or petiton: 

We also desire and decree that if it should happen that anyone knowingly or 
unknowingly attacks this document as being tainted by deceit or 
surreptitiousness or nullity or by Our intention or by any other defect, 
however much juridicial or substantial, even from this that all who have or 

are presumed to have an interest of any sort in individual points have not 
consented to this, and the reason why all the aforesaid have occurred were 
in no way sufficiently examined and from any other heading whatsoever 
were noted, challenged, nullified, or controverted, they are and always will 
be perpetually valid and effective and acquire and obtain their full and 
entire effects, and must be observed inviolably by all to whom it pertains 
and if other attacks are made upon it by any authority whatsoever, We wish 
and declare that they are void and foolish. 134 

It may at least be conceded that Father Price was not obedient to 

A Carolina diocese 

As the post-erection controversy raged, there was more than 
sufficient reason for the first alumni reunion for Saint Mary's College 
to be delayed from 1911 to 191 3. 135 The year 1911 was not peaceful 
at Belmont. Much of the bishop's time was consumed just with 
writing assurances that Maryhelp had not requested perpetual 
jurisdiction over the vicariate. 136 

He wrote Gibbons on 28 January 1911, with a tone made 
defensive by three months of controversy. 

I may here mention, what no doubt you already know, that in petitioning 
Rome for an 'Abbatia Nullius ' we did not ask that the Vicariate should be 
united to the Abbey, so as to make the Abbot ipso facto Vicar Apostolic. This 
was made a part of the Bulla Erectionis without our knowledge. All I ever did 
was agree to perform the duties of Bishop whilst I was able. That my 
succesor as Abbot was to enjoy the same honor and be burdened with the 
like responsibilities, we never asked for, nor did we know this until, to our 
surprise, we found it in the Bull. 137 

The concern of the hierarchy, first expressed thirteen years earlier, 
surfaced again. Leo Haid was made to appear as a prelate with 
powerful connections in Rome, capable of winning extraordinary 
favors and concessions to satisfy his whims. The linking of the nullius 
and the vicariate seemed like incontrovertible evidence to support 
that contention. Price circulated his opinions as he visited the bishops 
of the province seeking to win support for the immediate suppression 
of the vicariate and the erection in its place of a see with full diocesan 

Haid was forced into a difficult position by this controversy. He 
did not want the union of the vicariate and nullius perpetuated, since 
that condition re-established the confusion he had originally intended 
to settle by the creation of the separated territory. Yet it would be 


improper for him to apply immediately and directly for the offensive 
passage to be voided. A Papal Bull was among the Church's most 
solemn media of proclamation, and both prudence and etiquette 
forbad a suggestion that the Holy See might have acted unwisely in 
so serious a matter. 138 Furthermore, Haid was reluctant to act because 
he believed that the immediate promotion of the vicariate to diocesan 
status would be harmful to the spiritual welfare of the Catholics and 
the temporal welfare of the Church of North Carolina. Also it would 
be embarrassing for Haid to endorse the erection of a diocese now, 
because of his recommendation of the previous spring, submitted to 
the delegate through Hintemeyer, against such a move. 

It was another sad predicament for the Catholic Church in North 
Carolina. Its few, scattered adherents had been shunted for a century 
between the territory of other Sees and the divided attention of its 
Ordinaries. It had been part of the dioceses of Baltimore and of 
Charleston; once the Vicariate Apostolic was created, no Ordinary 
had been allowed to offer exclusive attention to the North State for 
the full length of his episcopate. Gibbons added Richmond to his 
duties; Keane had that diocese and the North Carolina Vicariate 
together from the beginning; there was less than a year for Northrop 
before Charleston was added to his reponsibilities. Then in Haid's 
case, it was the vicariate that was appended to his previous mitred 
duties. Even some of the earliest schemes for a North Carolina 
diocese had not been centered exclusively in the state. One called for 
a Diocese of Norfolk, that would include Norfolk, Portsmouth, 
Petersburg, and Lynchburg in Virginia, and all of North Carolina. 139 

On 23 January 1911, Gibbons wrote Haid, advising him that 
action should be taken regarding the content of the secular priests' 
petition of the previous November. The Cardinal had submitted the 
recommendations contained in the document to the Apostolic 
Delegate, and those two prelates agreed that the erection of a North 
Carolina diocese would "not only bring distinction to the Church of 
North Carolina, but would also be a source of gratification to the 
Clergy and draw them with closer ties to yourself." Accordingly, 
Gibbons summoned Haid and the other bishops of the province to a 
meeting in Baltimore, on Wednesday in the Octave of Easter. The 
notice made clear the archbishop's intention that the abbot should 
head the new diocese and that the American bishops, including Haid, 
should endorse the request for erection. "I hope that Your Lordship 
sees no difficulty in the way of presenting the petition to the Holy See 
for the granting of the favor in question," he warned the abbot. 140 

Haid's response, however, was not compatible with the Cardinal's 
desires. Gibbons' theories went largely unchallenged, but the 

question of the Ordinary's salary had to be faced before such a 
petition could realistically be offered. Yet the bishop's position on this 
question was not precisely consonant with Price's representation of 
it. Haid agreed with Price, Irwin, and Dennen in the assumption that 
a secular bishop would receive a more generous cathedraticum than did 
the abbot. But what the priests did not seem to consider was the 
poverty of the Catholics in North Carolina. The faithful would give 
more for the bishop of a diocese than they were contributing to 
Haid's support, but because their funds were so limited, their 
contributions "would be at the expense of hard-working priests" 
whose income was already inferior to their needs, and "at the expense 
of [the] Seminary, Orphan, and other collections. It will certainly be 
some or many years before North Carolina can support a Bishop 
along with its other necessary duties." The abbot noted his own good 
fortune as the prelate of the state, since "I need not trouble [them], as 
I have my Abbey to fall back upon." 141 

While the bishops prepared for their meeting and Price was 
engaged with the creation of his missionary society, Christopher 
Dennen met with Haid. These two men decided that in the bishop's 
annual Lenten letter, usually reserved for a statement of seasonal 
regulations, an explanation would be given of the disputed clause in 
the Bulla Erectionis. The abbot committed himself to asking the 
bishops at the provincial meeting after Easter to agree to erect North 
Carolina into a diocese upon his death or in 1914 — by which time 
suitable preparations could be made — whichever came first. Father 
Dennen immediately informed Price, 142 and wrote Gibbons, sending a 
copy of Haid's letter. 

May I suggest that your Eminence keep this letter so as to be able to remind 
Bishop Haid of the agreement should it be necessary. I am satisfied he will 
do all he says. But We [sic] have every reason to fear some of his monks may 
change his mind. 

Despite his misgivings, however, Dennen did endorse this plan as the 
<f best solution." 143 After the Lenten letter appeared, Father Dillon 
wrote Haid to apologize for the '"misunderstanding regarding the 
Papal Bull." 144 Woods also apologized, and offered a pledge of 
loyalty. 145 Father Barton, not wanting to be on the losing side, had 
already written to Price endorsing that priest's efforts, 146 but now 
wrote the bishop criticizing Thomas Frederick Price and suggesting 
his own obedience, constancy, and loyalty to Leo Haid.' 47 This letter 
was opportune in an additional way, as Father Price and Bishop Haid 
were then arguing over the idea of Barton being assigned to the 

Father O'Brien addressed to the abbot-bishop a lengthy letter 
arguing that when the new See was erected, Leo Haid should agree to 
be its Ordinary, and take up residence at its cathedral. He further 
proposed that since political influence was so important in the 
modern Church, Raleigh rather than Wilmington should be the seat 
of the diocesan territory. 

I do not think that the Church in the capital city can much longer stand the 
strain under which it is grieving. Nothing less than your presence there can 
stem the tide, calm the troubled waters, deepen the love of the clergy and 
hold fast the loyalty of both clergy and laity. 14 * 

But the correspondence regarding the Haid proposal was not entirely 
favorable. One dissenting voice has been preserved: that of Frederick 
Price. That priest had consulted a canonist, and was convinced that 
"no matter how sincere and true your purpose may be (which of 
course cannot be doubted)" the erection had to take place 
immediately. Once again, Price was writing on the basis of hearsay, 
and had confused the issues. The priest had understood only the three 
year delay, and had overlooked the fact that the proposal called for 
the bishops of the province to commit themselves to the erection of 
the new diocese. Price misunderstood, thinking Haid was seeking to 
commit his own successor to that policy and intention, an 
impossibility canonically. "It is painful for me to write this to you," 
Price assured Haid, "and I do so only under a sense of duty." 149 

Leo Haid was exasperated. There seemed no way to please his 
priests, especially Price. When the bishops held their provincial 
meeting, all of Frederick Price's recommendations were approved. 
The Holy See was asked to erect North Carolina into a diocese 
immediately. The territory of the jurisdiction was to include the 
entire state except for the eight counties of the nullius diocesis. The See 
of the new bishopric was to be Wilmington, North Carolina, Price's 
hometown. But the bishops also announced their desire to see Haid 
appointed the first bishop of Wilmington. That prelate, however, 
responded that he would agree only if he retained both his monastery 
and the abbatial diocese. 150 

The controversy and its manifold entanglements drained the 
bishop, leaving him discouraged and resigned to whatever fate Rome 
chose to assign him. The only demand that he expressed with 
constancy was his intention to keep his monastery. To the primate, 
he wrote 

The Bulk uniting the Vicariate to the Abbatia Nullius caused much 
dissatisfaction among the Bishops of the Baltimore Province and also 
among the Secular Priests of the Vicariate. The Holy See will be asked to 
raise the Vicariate to a Diocese, with Wilmington as the Bishop's See. The 
Cardinal and all the Bishops and Priests also wish that I should be the first 
Bishop; I suppose this will be necessary, so that the expenses of the Bishop 
for some years at least will be less by me remaining in the Monastery. 
Perhaps you have already been notified. The whole affair caused me much 
trouble— but it may be for the best, as the future Abbot will have sufficient 
work of his own here.... 

The endorsement on this letter was more revealing than the 
message. "Episcopus" was gone, and the signature had reverted to 
"Leo, Abbas'* 151 With this meeting of the bishops, Haid began to shift 
his perspective again. The disloyalty of his priests, the innuendo to 
which he was subjected, the opprobrium that surrounded him, these 
all expressed to the abbot-bishop a sense of failure and defeat. So 
great was his resignation by the spring of 191 1 that he had even cast 
his vote with the majority, putting the bishops on record as 
unanimously endorsing the erection of the See of Wilmington, North 

The Apostolic Delegate was so surprised by Haid's vote that he 
wrote the abbot begging a clarification, and cautioning against 
perjury for the sake of peace. "Now, when I saw you previous to this 
meeting," he said, "you expressed yourself very clearly as being 
against the said erection of the Vicariate into a diocese. I therefore 
request you to inform me in conscience in regard to this important 
matter." 132 

Gibbons also took note of Haid's dejection, and was careful to 
mention his own misgivings about the request for a North Carolina 
diocese. Nevertheless, like Haid, the Cardinal believed he "was 
naturally obliged to accede to the wishes of my colleagues." 153 The 
petition from the American bishops to Pius X was submitted on 3 1 
May 191 1. 154 

For the summer, Abbot Leo tried to expedite construction work in 
Wilmington. The magnificent church of Saint Mary was being 
erected, and since it would be the cathedral of the new diocese, it 
needed to be completed post hast so as not to delay the enthronement 
of the new Ordinary. And Cardinal Gibbons had already announced 
that for this diocesan erection, he intended to be present. 1 " 

But that was not to be. Saint Mary would never surpass the rank of 
a pro-cathedral. For the Sacred Consistorial Congregation of the 
Roman curia, the body to which the Holy Father referred the 
petition from America, spent little time with the document before 
judging it premature. Cardinal De Lai officially "delayed" the 


erection of a North Carolina diocese on 17 August 1911. The 
Apostolic Delegate wrote identical letters to Gibbons and Haid on 1 

...Cardinal De Lai, Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of the Consistory, 
has informed me that after a full consideration of the proposed erection of 
the Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina into a Diocese, the said Sacred 
Congregation deemed the project premature, and accordingly gave the 
response, Dilata".™ 

Gibbons wrote Belmont, this time expressing pleasure "that the 
matter has been deferred." 157 The archbishop also informed Price of 
the verdict. 1 " 

In June Fathers Price and Walsh had won Roman approval for 
their proposed seminary for the foreign missions. Receiving that 
endorsement, while facing the effects of the rejection of the North 
Carolina diocesan petition, Price began to think of centering his 
labors elsewhere. "It is pretty clear I will be forced out of the state," 
he confided to his diary nine days after hearing of the "dilata. " 159 
Price returned to North Carolina in the early fall. Haid wrote him on 
4 October; Price responded on the seventh. They disagreed on 
virtually all issues, especially Haid's insistence upon control of 
Nazareth. The bishop maintained that the diocesan orphanage for 
boys was not a private enterprise of Priced. The Apostolorum was 
virtually defunct by this time anyway, and of no interest to the 
bishop. The priest did make one last effort to have it styled a quasi- 
religious order, however, with himself as major superior, and 
someone else as the local head. "It would be a position somewhat 
analogous, I suppose, to that which [the prior] in Richmond occupies 
in regard to you and the Diocese of Richmond," 160 he suggested. But 
Haid had already appointed George Woods, the man who he had 
thought would be the most pleasing candidate to Price, to head the 
Nazareth orphan asylum. The bishop was unwilling to negotiate 
further. On their last point of contention, Truth magazine, Leo Haid 
recognized the priest's ownership, and allowed its sale. Price left the 
vicariate, achieved his incardination into Baltimore, founded the 
Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, reportedly made great 
strides toward sanctity, and died of appendicitus in 1919 in the 
oriental missions. 

nullius Oiocesis 

The erection of the abbatia nullius seemed to be both the summit of 
Leo Haid's career and the impetus for its dissolution. It served also to 
abruptly terminate his active missionary period, which in one decade 
had brought the state to the verge of diocesan status, only to see that 
honor "delayed" by the lack of evidence that the people would 
support the Ordinary. This decade had also shown, of course, how 
true was the priests' contention regarding the benefits to be won by a 
full-time bishop. 

For Haid the reception granted his nullius diocesis seemed a personal 
as well as a professional criticism. He had spent twenty-five years in 
North Carolina. In that time he had built a vigorous monastic 
institution, a boys' college; he had sacrificed himself and his monks 
for a Catholic vicariate that was finally strong, had grown at a 
remarkable rate, and which for the first time in its existence of more 
than forty years was showing the stability that was a necessary 
prologue to diocesan status. But his clergy seemed to ignore those 
achievements, and blame him for fulfilling the duties Rome had 
imposed. "Where one leads well, 11 he had written in the year of his 
episcopal ordination, "others may safely follow." 161 But time had not 
justified that early confidence. And at age sixty-one, he found that 
the priests of his diocese did not approve of his work. There were 
statements of admiration for him personally, but his files show not a 
single letter that endorsed his policies and his administration, or even 
recognized the sacrifice and effort of the past decade. The hierarchy 
too was suspicious, and lent him no support. 

The platitudes that surrounded his abbatial jubilee had also fallen 
short. They had said to him 

Since, with that ' 'Crescat ' ' spoken long ago, 
Men have been made to labor and to love; 
Working for God,— a multitude, yet one. 
So His Disciples everywhere have done: 
Knowing not fear nor pain, nor counting loss; 
Planting the Faith, commanding it "To Grow"; 
Tending His flocks, counting all else as dross. 1 " 

He had heard all the conventional praise of such occasions, but he did 
not accept its veracity. Leo Haid had accomplished for his abbey 
what no other American abbot had achieved: a separated territory, 
ultimate exemption, an abbatia nullius. He had also freed his monks 
from debt. There were the independent daughterhouse, three 
dependent priories and schools, the college and seminary at Belmont 

with its magnificent buildings. Yet the abbot realized that somehow, 
inadvertently, he had also drawn upon himself and his monks a 
virulence and scorn that compromised success and cast it as the fruit 
of the abbot's villainy. His monks had the care of almost six thousand 
five hundred souls in three states, more than three hundred students, 
and they were chaplains to six convents of sisters. Yet they stood 
accused of trying to destroy the progress of religion in North 
Carolina. 163 

The last years of Leo Haid's life were quieter. He returned to his 
monastery and began to practice the seclusion of which he was 
already accused. For the years that were left to him he decided to give 
his attention primarily and finally to his monastery, and to the special 
monastic character of which he had dreamed twenty-five years 
earlier. But after ten years of intense missionary labors, and a decade 
of training the young monks for the duties incumbent on priests, the 
abbot did not find the old spirit still dominant. His remaining years 
were consigned to witnessing a temper he did not fully understand, 
but which he knew he had helped implant. Yet there as in the 
vicariate, he had not the strength to fight what he could not 

Confused by the ceaseless changes with which he had been forced 
to contend in life, Bishop Haid wrote Father Felix Fellner, O.S.B., at 
Saint Vincent, "You historians [will] have a big job before you if you 
wish to get history straight." 164 

Chapter? Vlll: 

the dean 

Leo Haid had an unremitting devotion to the Virgin Mary. She 
was the patroness of his abbey and college. In 1 895 he won from the 
Holy See the right for his monks to celebrate her feast as a double 
major under the title of Lourdes. There was the pilgrimage shrine. 
Her statue stood before the College Building, atop the monastery 
portico, and in the Abbey Cathedral, where the high altar was 
dedicated in her honor. 

The Catholic Church assigned many titles to the Mother of God. 
These were collected in the Litany of Loreto, which was used by the 
monks during the annual Marian month, May, as part of their 
devotions in the grotto. From these titles, more than four dozen in 
number, Leo Haid identified "Virgin Most Faithful" as the one he 
found most appealing. "Among all the qualities which gain and keep 
our love and respect," he had told the seminarians at Saint Vincent, 
"there is perhaps none we value higher than fidelity." 1 And he was 
deeply pained when, after the diocesan controversy had finally 
subsided in 1912, he concluded that he had devoted himself to men 
who had not been faithful, who had proven disloyal, and who seemed 
to him self-serving, self-willed, and proud. The title "Most Faithful" 
seemed an inappropriate epithet for his priests, and the bishop rued 
the fact that he had not inspired in these men the virtue he most 


Resuming his full teaching schedule, and seeking to maximize his 
time at the abbey, Abbot Leo found affairs in good order. Father 
Thomas was a gifted educator who, like the abbot, believed in the 
necessity of sound paedeutics on which the boys' college studies and 
environment would be built. Oestreich sought to integrate Haid's 
theories with solid educational, theologically founded, disciplined 
practices. And the school he had developed pleased its abbatial 
president, and secured for Thomas Oestreich the longest tenure of 
any rector during Haid's reign. 

Hintemeyer's work in the monastery was equally satisfactory. The 
prior shared his abbot's belief in the necessity of keeping the monks 
busy. But he improved on that standard by more clearly focusing the 
monks' activity. Haid tended to fragment the attention of his 
workers. Much as he had made his abbey responsible for diverse 
schools, parishes, farms, and monasteries in three states at once, so 
too would he assign individual monks to countless and disparate 
tasks. Felix Hintemeyer, however, saw that assignments were better 
oriented. Ridding the brothers in particular of the factotum 
orientation that had characterized their daily labors, Hintemeyer 
invested in individual workers the level of trust and responsibility the 
abbot reserved for his priors and rectors. Father Felix, for example, 
assigned a single brother to take charge, as a continuing duty, of the 
poultry farm; there was one man for the dairy, another for the swine, 
for the kitchen, the abbey's printery, and so forth through the various 
jobs; then the younger and less experienced brothers, clerics, and lay 
workers supplied services wherever help was required. With 
Hintemeyer's system both morale and efficiency were raised. And the 
greater responsibility assigned to the individual monks encouraged 
their stability and solicitude, also. 

Prior Felix had also served the abbot by maintaining the discipline 
of the monastery. This reflected his own professional maturation as 
prior, a position in which his success had not been immediate. 
Hintemeyer was only twenty-seven when he took charge of the daily 
administrative tasks of the cloister. Except for the brief tenure of 
Father Roman, the abbot had not previously delegated internal 
administrative duties. So Hintemeyer started without precedents, 
example, or experience at his disposal. The monks were aware of 
these hindrances that confronted the young prior; they also knew 
that the abbot had only apponted a prior as a reluctant step, 
necessitated and imposed on him by his episcopal duties. Then too, 
the choice of Father Felix for the position was not at first warmly 
received. Hintemeyer's nomination was presumed to have proceeded 
from his role as a school monk, whose intellectual orientation made 

him an unlikely choice for extended missionary assignments, and 
thus also made him an appropriate candidate for being present to 
fulfill the responsibilities of running the monastic cloister. Yet 
Hintemeyer's appointment as prior still showed the abbot's usual 
wisdom for placing monks in assignments that would develop and 
enrich their natural talents. Father Felix's "quiet observance of the 
Holy Rule' 1 the abbot noted, and "his charity towards all, have broken 
down a certain dislike which some who never understood him had 
against him." Hintemeyer had immediately established an edifying 
and wholesome "influence over the brothers" at the abbey. And like 
Father Patrick, who was procurator of the abbey when Hintemeyer 
entered the prior's office, Father Felix was recognized as "a good 
religious with sound sense and indifferent to foolish fault rinding. On 
the whole I am very well satisfied." 2 

Yet it was loyalty that Leo Haid admired above everything else in 
his prior. "A faithful man," the abbot said, "is indeed invaluable; in 
fact it is impossible for us to imagine a perfect man unless he is 
especially a faithful one." 3 As that quality became increasingly 
evident, the abbot had been drawn with appreciative affection to his 
prior's friendship. There he found the stability and fidelity, the 
support, shared interests, and the common love of God, the Order 
and the Abbey that Leo Haid found so seldom in others. And 
Hintemeyer's loyalty to his abbot was impervious to challenge. Even 
when he disagreed with Haid, as in the dispute over the territory 
offered for the nullius, Felix Hintemeyer had not deserted his abbot. 
The man's devotion, in Haid's perception at least, even seemed to 
proceed from the proper font: not a personal attachment to Leo Haid, 
instead it flowed from Father Felix's Benedictine observance and his 
monastic commitment. "The foundation of all loyalty," the abbot 
believed, must be "personal service of God." 4 And that was precisely 
the ordering Haid found in his prior. At this time, when so many of 
the people around the bishop seemed disloyal, this friendship lent him 
its greatest support. 

Hintemeyer's contribution during this period is especially 
remarkable because it came at a point when the scope of his activities 
was particularly broad. In the earliest days of their association, Haid 
had resumed primary administrative responsibility whenever he was 
in residence at the abbey. But in the first decade of the twentieth 
century, Father Felix had been invested with virtually complete 
liability for daily administrative tasks, a situation comparable to the 
role filled by the priors working in Bristow and Savannah. Though 
Leo Haid resumed a more active role domestically and particularly in 
the college after he began curtailing his missionary work in 1912, he 

left Father Felix's responsibilities unimpaired. Indeed, as the prior 
noted the abbot's shift toward greater attention to his interior life, 
and as the prelate's health began to decline, Hintemeyer began 
shielding Abbot Leo, seeking to insure his health and felicity by 
relieving him of all unnecessary burdens. He used his authority as 
prior in the monastery and as Vicar General in the nullius and 
vicariate to insure that the abbot's increasing needs, both spiritual 
and physical, might be met. 5 

But the prior also turned increasingly to his duties in the schools 
and to works of charity. In the seminary his assigned classes 
concerned dogma and canon law. In the college his specialities were 
languages and philosophy. His charity functioned both inside the 
cloister and out. The priests and brothers who had difficulties 
commonly turned first to the gentle prior of Belmont. 6 This was not 
only because of his "influence with Bishop Haid;" he was also 
publically praised for "ever [extending] a kindly word to those in 
trouble, earnest advice to those in doubt, and a generous hand to 
those in need." 7 Outside the cloister he gave himself to the welfare of 
the sisters of Sacred Heart Convent, and devoted himself to the 
orphan girls there, giving time, attention, and even writing little 
morality plays for their benefit. 8 Then after the Great War, he 
expanded his attention to include relief work on behalf of European 
countries. All of these works and interests reinforced the abbot's 
regard for his prior. And because the priest also showed that most 
precious quality, fidelity, even the separation caused by Hintemeyer's 
expanding interests did not limit or inhibit the abbot's trust of and 
friendship with Father Felix. This was the man upon whom the 
abbot knew he could always rely. 

A typical example of Father Prior's facility for bringing his regard 
for Haid into virtually every aspect of his activities occurred at the 
Alumni Reunion of 191 3 . Father Felix was instructed to prepare and 
present an elaborate and lengthy stereopticon exhibition for the Old 
Boys, regarding the history of the abbey. At the conclusion of the 
presentation, the event which began and was to set the tone for the 
whole convocation, there appeared on the screen a portrait of Bishop 
Haid. "Under his guidance," the prior-narrator said, 

all this has been accomplished. To him under God this progress must be 
attributed. When he came South his coat-of-arms was inscribed, Leo Vincit 
["Leo conquers"]. Having witnessed his conquest of ignorance, bigotry and 
indifferentism, every Saint Mary's student, past or present will join me in 
voting to have that inscription changed io Leo Vitit ["Leo has conquered"]. 9 

Of course the surprised and humbled abbot immediately found 
himself the object of a standing ovation from the monks, students, 
and Old Boys. The prior had won for Haid precisely the outpouring 
of respect and devotion that he believed the man deserved, and with 
which he so often tried to support and encourage his abbot. The Boys 
found their pride and nostalgia regarding Saint Mary's College 
focused on its abbot-bishop-president, Leo Haid. And the 
unsuspecting object of all this attention had received some small 
evidence of the love and faithfulness he so seldom observed. 

One task which the prior may have accomplished too well for his 
abbot was the creation of the increasingly parochial interest of the 
monks. Priestly training dominated the fraters' formation by this 
time. And zeal in the missions was emphasized and encouraged. Part 
of the ease with which this spirit achieved its rapid ascendency 
proceeded from the altered ethnic composition of the monastery. 
Except for the brotherhood, the dominance of Bavaria-born and 
German-American monks had waned. The greatest numbers among 
the men who entered Belmont Abbey in the first quarter of the 
twentieth century came from Irish stock. And though neither the 
abbot nor his Bavarian-born prior seems to have presumed to theorize 
about the fact, both men noted that these Irish-Americans were 
oriented more toward the active and priestly pursuits of the external 
apostolates than had been their Bavarian predecessors. To a 
significant degree, this unexplained phenomenon had smoothed the 
abbey's internal shift of emphasis in the 1910's. And with the usual 
ability of activity to monopolize attention, it had become a fully 
constitutive element in the character of Belmont Abbey. Claustral 
duties, of course, maintained at least a theoretical prominence, but 
after the prayer, hospitality, and formative duties that implied, only 
the schools — especially Belmont Abbey College — outranked the 

Unfortunately, Frederick Price and the vicariate clergy had 
succeeded in undermining the abbot's commitment to monks in 
missionary work, by casting aspersions on its quality and selflessness. 
At the same time, however, Maryhelp's monks were still resolved to 
meet the demands of this work. This left Haid with an uneasy 
situation, which he was not sure he had the strength to amend. The 
monks expected, as Hintemeyer had told Dennen in 1910, 10 that with 
the creation of the nullius they might allow their vicariate activity to 
recede, in favor of a clear focus on the territory of the abbatia nullius. 
But in the face of his secular clergy's disfavor, Leo Haid had 
rethought the wisdom of monks undertaking vast missionary 
responsibilities. And he returned to the abbey intending to encourage 

the old, pre-1900 spirit. But the work of the past decade had been 
implanted in his monks far too well for another change to win favor 
and support. The spirit and character had been genuinely altered by a 
decade of missionary emphasis. 

In the abbot's evaluation, however, concentrated missionary 
activity was not an immediate goal. So he sought to restore the old 
spirit by subtly influencing the monks through his power for making 
assignments. Thus he adopted toward the territory of the nullius a 
policy only slightly less benign than that which had predominated in 
the 1891 counties. The spiritual needs of the Catholics were met, 
though primarily through non-resident monk-pastors who visited 
their missions on Sundays and Holy Days. Mclnerney supervised 
some small-scale church construction, too. But there was little 
evangelization. The monk-priests were assigned to parochial more 
than missionary service in the abbatial 'diocese'. 

The limits of the monks' liberty for daily pastoral work were 
strengthened further by the needs of the college, and of the priories 
and their schools. Despite relatively stable vocations, personnel 
resources were always limited and the abbey's manpower was utilized 
to the maximum possible level. The abbot was even able to win an 
official endorsement of sorts from the monastic Chapter for his 
cessation of the abbey's expansionism. A policy statement was issued 
in 1915, in response to an invitation from the Diocese of Superior to 
work in its territory. 11 The resolution, approved on 18 January, said 
that "Belmont Abbey absolutely refused to make or accept any 
Foundation outside the Southern States." 12 This statement served to 
shatter precedents: the 1920's became the first and only decade in 
Haid's abbatial career when no new monastery was established by 
Maryhelp. He had sent his first monks to Florida in the 1880's; 
Bristow arose in the next decade; Savannah was organized in 1902; 
then in the 1910's, Richmond had been refocused on the west end. 
But Leo Haid was older now and less certain of the wisdom of that 
tireless expansion. Both by temperament and disposition, he was no 
longer the Projectenmacher his past credits suggested. 

Tired himself, and concerned by the heavy duties borne by his 
monks, the abbot even promulgated a new and more moderate 
horarium. It allowed the fathers to sleep a half hour later in the 
mornings, until a quarter past four. But Abbot Leo was not wholly 
comfortable with the new sequence, and was edified to see that 
Father Felix continued to arise according to the original schedule. 
The monks still had "rather a busy day" under the new horarium, 
Haid wrote the prior of Saint Vincent, "but I can't see how to lighten 
the work!" 13 

The Cassinese Visitators appeared at the abbey at regular intervals 
and professed general satisfaction with the quality of observance. The 
library, of course, was criticized, and silence was apparently 
imperfectly practiced. 14 Yet with equivalent frequency, the Visitators 
professed respect for "the very good spirit [that] exists here at the 
Abbey. Choir is well attended, the religious exercises are well made, 
fraternal charity is observed, and all are filially attached to their 
venerable Abbot." 15 And that last attribute, personal devotion to Leo 
Haid, was repeatedly offered as the quality the monastic Visitators 
perceived to be most singularly edifying. "We find genuine loyalty 
and deep attachment to the Superior," they noted in 1920; he is truly 
"the Father of the family." That spirit was, they said, "quite 
commendable." 16 Indeed the Visitators discerned that so much of the 
monastery's strength rested in the person and presence of the abbot, 
that they asked him to "caution Father Prior not to use unduly or 
imprudently the influence resulting from his many years of excellent 
service in his present position." 17 

Other than his restrictions through assignments, Bishop Haid did 
little to deal with the increasingly active tonality of his monastery, 
especially among the younger fathers and clerics. Instead he sought 
to inculcate into their training, a very particular understanding of 
their vows to a life of stability, conversation and obedience. This 
seemed, in the new age that those years surrounding the World War 
appeared to be, the way to deepen the monastic values his monks 
were to carry with them through all the aspects of their life, prayer, 
and work. In his monastic conferences the abbot suggested that the 
realization of the vows should be specifically associated by the 
individual monks with their loyalty to Mary help Abbey. He even 
characterized the obligation to poverty as an aspect of the common 
bonds the monks shared with one another and their monastery. Haid 
defined the practice of monastic poverty as "our mutual obligation to 
ourselves and [our] brethren— our Monastery, College, etc. All 
demand that we should be helpful members." He reasoned that the 
monks, by virtue of their vow of conversation already owned nothing, 
thus what they had to give was a fullness of common effort in 
support of the Benedictine spirit at Belmont. "God has given us a 
beautiful home," he said. "Our exterior work is progress for the glory 
of God, and [the] Order, and the welfare of our people— education of 
youth." This focus on Divine glory being realized through the Order 
and its works, then, was the only factor that could justify the scope of 
activities undertaken by modern monks. 18 

The abbot urged his monks to engage in a four-fold preparation for 
the more active apostolates that figured increasingly in the monastic 

life. F irst, the monks should seek training for "useful lives," especially 
for their teaching duties. And, he said, the monk must be willing to 
"Supplement what is wanting, etc., by personal application"— the 
same approach he asked of his college students. Then if one were 
ordained, further effort through reading, study, and self- 
improvement was necessary — not for selfish ends, but because they 
would "add to the good reputation of our Colleges, parishes, etc." 19 

The second focus of preparation was an intention to "[go] beyond 
our mere obligations— everywhere." Thus he chided those who were 
"sticklers for 'just so much.' " The third facet of preparation was a 
commitment to poverty, and the liberty it provided. But the fourth 
and ultimate level of the monks' preparation was intended to 
summarize all the others. It was, he said, simply "Love of our 
Monastic Home." 20 Just as he had sought and valued loyalty in the 
diocesan workers, he expected and encouraged it in his monks. And 
in both cases he emphasized that the fidelity was not owed to him 
personally, but to the greater interests he too served. 'The fulfillment 
of our religious obligations has a threefold foundation," he told his 
Benedictine novices, 'The Glory of God," was first, and the other 
two were merely dimensions of that, "our own salvation, and the 
welfare of our order." 21 

Increasingly in these last years, the abbot turned his attention to 
the necessity for his monks to truly "seek God" through the 
monastery, and to see that their labors were always oriented toward 
that goal. The monk's labora , he feared, could all too easily appear to 
be worthwhile in its own right, simply because of its charitable and 
pastoral nature. But the abbot emphasized that labora was primarily a 
means, not an end, and was to be used in educating and advancing 
the soul in Benedict's "school of the Lord's service." Through that 
approach, labora became not only charitable, but God-centered, and 
wise. This right ordering and clarity of understanding, he labeled 
"true wisdom." And as he had told the seminarians at Saint Vincent 
to remember, "when the soul is called before God's just judgment 
seat, all else will vanish, but [this] virtue [the practice of 'true 
wisdom! alone, will plead our cause before God." 22 

The writings and conferences of this period reflect the pain of the 
abbot's efforts to grapple with questions of eternal mysteries and the 
fallibility he knew had marked his stewardship of the two mitres. He 
was frightened by the burden mortal life imposed on an immortal 
soul. It was a precarious balance, he said, with reason and free will on 
one side, while the principal weight on the other was the human soul: 
"Immortal Souls capable of knowing Life and death— choose!" 23 

Pondering his longing to touch on God he said, "I kneel in spirit 
beside our Saviour in the Garden — learn from him to be resigned to 
God's will, etc. When tempted to pride, etc. [I] picture to [the] soul 
Jesus, especially before the unclean brute — Herod." 24 He would ask 
his memory to "dwell on God's personal gifts and favors to me." 25 
And he would urge his heart, which he associated with man's natural 
longing for God, to indulge its proper and ever present thirst: "Yes," 
he said, "the human heart wants a Father in Heaven." 26 Leo Haid 
turned his spirituality definitively in the last decade of his life toward 
the goal he had first set as a young monk-priest in 1878: "Almighty 
God, [as] the great Centre toward which all [persons] by their 
Creation tend." 27 But now, he believed, forty years later, he 
understood the full effort God required of him. "I belong wholly to 
God. I must serve him with my whole soul and body." 28 

He recognized the obligation to focus his whole life on God; he 
pondered his long years of work and effort, the commitments he had 
made for his monks, the evaluations cast on him by his secular 
priests. He considered this total service of God, imposed on him by 
his theology of "true wisdom", and he asked, "Have I done this; am I 
doing it now?" He instructed his novices to ask the same question of 
themselves, but to ask it earlier than had he, and to ask it regularly. 29 

And in the end, Leo Haid decided he had fallen short of the 
obligations God had given him. "My end must be in keeping with my 
soul;" that was the statement of his resignation to Divine judgement. 
The burden of man, and of his own spirit in particular, was that 
regarding God, "we were created to know, and not to reach." And 
"this," he said, "was to lose all." 30 

final StRuqqles 

The only major journey Haid undertook after the erection of the 
nultius was his third decennial visit ad limina to Rome, in the summer 
of 1914. That year, in which the silver jubilee of his episcopal 
consecration was celebrated — belatedly, as usual — brought him fresh 
tributes from outside his jurisdictions: The Pope honored the abbot- 
bishop on 24 July by naming him an Assistant at the Pontifical 
Throne. 31 By 1914, increasing infirmity forbad traveling alone, so 
Thomas Oestreich attended him as companion and episcopal 
chaplain, while Hintemeyer stayed behind to govern the monastery. 
There was no "Grand Tour" this time. Together the two monks 
moved quietly through Italy, Spain, France, and Germany, as Haid 
saw Europe for the last time and Oestreich bought books for the 

college library. The two companions were present in Rome when 
Aidan Gasquet, O.S.B., received the official notification of his 
elevation to the Cardinalate. 32 And on 28 May, they attended the 
consistory where Gasquet and others — including Giacomo Delia 
Chiesa, the man who would soon reign as Pope Benedict 
XV — received the red hat. 33 

Father Thomas also accompanied Bishop Haid when Pius X 
received the Carolina prelate at the Apostolic Palace on 19 May. The 
Holy Father's "words of encouragement were earnest and warm," the 
abbot told his prior. "He looks the Father and Saint he really is.... He 
seems to forget all the grandeur of his exalted State, and remembers 
only his high dignity as representative of the meek and humble Jesus 
Christ." The Pope, "with fatherly solicitude" inquired about the 
monastery, so the abbot showed him photographs and the 
commemorative booklet from the Alumni Reunion of the previous 
year. Then, as Haid was about to leave, His Holiness summoned him 
back, and 

reached over on his table and handed me a red box with his coat-of-arms. 
When I opened this, I found a most beautiful pectoral cross of gold— a 
cameo figure of Christ in the centre surrounded by five splendid topaz 
stones. All he asked was to remember him and pray for him!. ..We left his 
fatherly presence as favored children. 14 

There were more honors five years later, in 1919, when the abbot- 
bishop commemorated fifty years of monastic profession. This time 
the Soverign Pontiff, Benedict XV, raised him to the ranks of the 
nobility, creating him a Roman Count, and sent a festive message and 
the Apostolic Blessing. 33 But Haid was older; the honors meant less, 
and his most valued gift for the celebration came from Gregory 
Diamare, O.S.B., archabbot-^///^ of Montecassino, who offered 
Mass for the jubilarian on the tomb of Saint Benedict. 36 

The abbot of Belmont also had his usual quota of problems in this 
period. On 30 April 1917, a tornado destroyed the main barn at the 
abbey. But Mclnerney designed a splendid brick replacement, 37 
wherein cows could walk through pseudo-gothic arches. That same 
year, Denis O'Connell advised Haid that he considered the Richmond 
Benedictines as scandalous as those in Bristow. 38 Father Dennen 
furtively accused one of his fellow missionaries of misconduct in the 
vicariate. 39 Then America entered the Great War, and the 
monastery's German-born monks became a disquieting presence in 
rural North Carolina; also, the war eliminated the possibility of 
importing any more brothers for the nonce; and disparaging 
conclusions were drawn from Haid's reluctance to let all the 

priests— both from the vicariate and the monastery— who desired 
military chaplaincies embrace that work. 40 While 1917 was certainly a 
particularly bad year, the Bristow epidemic was still to come; 
Richmond would continue to prove slow and costly in getting 
established; the vicariate priests regularly quarreled, accusing one 
another of various faults and improprieties, even reporting these to 
the Apostolic Delegate. 41 

For most of these problems, the bishop had little asked of him 
beyond mediation. But in 1922, when his attentions were distracted 
by the typhoid outbreak in northern Virginia and the brewing 
contretemps with O'Connell, a new effort arose in the vicariate, 
aimed toward the termination of Benedictine influence. And this 
effort was peculiarly effective— perhaps because Leo Haid never 
knew about it. 

James Cardinal Gibbons had died in 1921. Leo Haid traveled to 
Baltimore for the funeral and even performed one of the absolutions 
for the archbishop. 42 The CardinaTs successor, a surprise choice, was 
Michael Curley, the forty-two year old, Irish-born Ordinary of Saint 
Augustine in Florida. Curley was an associate of Giovanni Bonzano, 
Falconio's successor at the Apostolic Delegation in Washington. 43 
The new archbishop of Baltimore was a masterful fund raiser, a 
powerful homilist, and he earned a splendid reputation as a champion 
of Catholic education. Yet evaluations of Michael Curley have also 
been forced to note the lamentable faults that marred his reign in 
America's most prestigious See. These ranged from his general 
truculence, 44 to his reputation for a very noticeable disquietude and 
discomfort when among those whom he presumed to be possessed of 
a more facile intellect. 43 Moreover, this insecurity was complicated by 
the popular belief that rather than the nominee's worthiness, it was 
Bonzano's friendship that won the Baltimore throne for Michael 
Curley. He was not an ideal successor for a man of Gibbons' stature. 46 

If his dealings with North Carolina are a reliable source, Curley 
was also something of a politician. His chief compatriot in the North 
State was Christopher Dennen, who had been a virulent, although 
usually indirect, opponent of the Vicar Apostolic since 1910. Dennen 
had first met Leo Haid at Saint Vincent. "I remember the day when 
Father Dennen," the abbot-bishop said, "then a bright boy, came 
with others to Saint Vincent's College where I was secretary and 
chaplain." 47 He was studying as a candidate for the Diocese of 
Harrisburg then, but in the summer of 1891 Dennen transferred his 
affiliation to the Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina. 48 Through 
the years of his priestly service, Christopher Dennen had proven 
himself a diligent missionary in the state, and he possessed the ability 


to win the confidence and trust even of his opponents. But 1922 was 
not the first time Father Dennen had caused trouble for Bishop Haid. 
Earlier in his career, the priest had led the opposition to the Haid- 
Drexel integration plan. Dennen's open hostility toward even so 
modest an effort toward racial balance aroused the oppugnancy and 
prejudice of the locals, especially at the church in Wilmington, where 
he was rector of the Pro-Cathedral. And it was Dennen's efforts, in 
those volatile struggles of the 1910's, that resulted in prolonging 
segregation among the Catholics in that city through the remainder 
of the bishop's reign. 49 

In the first year after Curley 's translation to Baltimore, Dennen 
wrote to alert the new metropolitan to the history of absorption that 
marked the Benedictines' tenure in the South. It had recently come to 
the priest's attention that the Benedictines were seeking to expand 
the territory of the abbatia nullius, and Christopher Dennen was 
determined to see the proprietary policies of the Maryhelp monks 
terminated. 30 

Leo Haid did "wish to have the limits of the nullius changed 
somewhat before I die." And that, he admitted, created his primary 
interest in seeing who would succeed to the provincial throne. 51 When 
Curley was named to the See, a reasonably non-combative attitude 
toward the Order of Saint Benedict was expected, since he was not 
known to have caused many major problems for the Benedictines 
during his Florida tenure. Abbot Leo was also encouraged toward 
prompt action on the nullius by the propitious timing. It seemed 
fortuitous that the province should acquire a new leader on the eve of 
1922, the golden jubilee of Bishop Haid's priestly ordination, an 
occasion worthy of special favors from the Apostolic See. Once again 
the public commemoration was postponed a year, and to all 
appearances the Benedictines were preparing for an effort similar to 
the one that had won the nullius in 1910." 

Without even testing the veracity of the charges or seeking their 
confirmation at Belmont, Dennen implored Curley 's intervention in 
anticipation of the monks' efforts. And the archbishop, also without 
investigating the crimination or demanding substantiation, 
immediately allied himself with the Carolina priest's crusade. "I will 
never give my consent to the adding of Mechlinburg [sic] County to 
the Abbatia Nullius'' the prelate assured Dennen. Then, in the 
conspiritorial temper the circumstances seemed to beg, he suggested 
to the Wilmington pastor that the Benedictines might succeed in 
acquiring the territory without their archbishop's acquiesence. "They 
may petition Rome directly as they did before," Curley charged, 
apparently without checking either the history or the facts of the 

case, "and Rome may act, as it often does, without consulting anyone 
here." He instructed Dennen to alert the archbishop's friend, the 
delegate, offering a full account of the situation. All the secular 
priests of the Vicariate Apostolic should add their signatures to the 
document, too. But, he suggested, just "keep my name out of it." 
Nonetheless, the archibishop informed Bonzano himself the next 

Dennen sent his testimony, signed by the others as the archbishop 
had recommended, but it seemed at first to be an unwarranted 
accusation. The anniversary passed quietly in December of 1922. 54 In 
the spring of 1 923 the jubilee was publicly celebrated, 35 but still no 
petition was drafted at Belmont; no request was posted to Rome. The 
delegate, however, kept the warnings of Curley and Dennen in mind. 
Indeed, Belmont Abbey was in his thoughts for other reasons at this 
time, since Bishop O'Connell of Richmond was making his move 
against Bristow that spring. Bonzano used the latter situation, which 
was not really a major concern for him, as a means for obtaining 
information regarding the nullius struggle, the consequences of which 
were more significant. It was for that reason that in March of 1923, 
Ignatius Remke found himself so cordially received at the Apostolic 
Delegation. The Bristow prior wanted to insure the status of his 
charge in northern Virginia; Bonzano wanted information regarding 
diocesan administration in North Carolina. Father Ignatius wrote the 
abbot, "Last Tuesday I called on [the Apostolic Delegate] in 
Washington. He was very nice and had a dozen questions to ask 
about you, the Vicariate, the Nullius, the monastery, etc., and said 
that he hopes to see the Abbey some day." 56 Apparently, both men 
were pleased by the meeting. Remke left with an assurance that 
O'Connell had no foundation for an appeal to Rome. And Bonzano 
heard enough about the leadership of Haid, the growth of the abbey, 
and the activities of the Maryhelp Benedictines, that he asked the 
metropolitan to submit a detailed report on the status of the Roman 
Catholic Church in North Carolina. Curley entrusted the 
responsibility for the task to Christopher Dennen, 57 and did not 
inform the Ordinary that the report had been commissioned. 

Of course Remke had not given a report that was less than glowing 
regarding the vicariate, nullius, and their Ordinary. But he had been 
unable to take into account what the Apostolic Delegate had been 
primed to hear. Thus Father Ignatius emphasized the extensive, 
highly sacrificial work of the Benedictines, and the sterling progress 
they had made. He gave little attention to the secular clergy. The 
Bristow prior spoke of the nullius' territory, of the even larger grant 
from 1891 . He related how the abbot-bishop was not only giving his 

time for the administration of the entire state, he was also running 
the abbey — a network of four monasteries, three preparatory schools, 
two farms, a college, a seminary, and an industrial school. To the 
Benedictine this was a description of success, sacrifice, and fervor. To 
the delegate, it was a rationalized version of the long history of 
acquisitions and absorption of which Christopher Dennen had 
already told him. 

Archbishop Curley had requested Dennen to submit the usual 
statistics required for such reports — the number of Catholics, what 
percentage that was of the total population, the figures for Catholic 
growth. But he was also interested in obtaining the sort of evaluation 
Dennen was particularly anxious to give. Curley wondered if the 
growth of the Church seemed "satisfactory, and if not" he wanted to 
know why. The archbishop also wanted to learn 4 the exact status of 
the Nullius? yet he requested that the information not come from the 
perspective of Church law, but "as understood by the priests of North 
Carolina." The archbishop called for a recommendation from 
Dennen, in anticipation of Haid's death, regarding whether the 
vicariate should be continued or a diocese erected. And he wondered 
if the nullius ' territory — with Whatever number of counties" — would 
deprive the new bishop of necessary support. Finally he warned 
Dennen, "Think this matter over maturely. ..[and] leave personalities 
altogether out of consideration." Michael Curley also ordered the 
report to be submitted within thirty days. 5 ' Dennen, who did not 
consult with his Ordinary in preparing or filing this diocesan 
evaluation, needed less than half that time. 59 The effort was intended 
to prepare for a quick and effective attainment of their objectives as 
soon as Bishop Haid would die, and input from the Carolina 
Ordinary now, it was presumed, would only retard that objective. 

While Dennen was working on his report for Curley, he received 
word that Leo Haid was sending Felix Hintemeyer to Rome the 
following year, as episcopal proxy for the fourth decennial visit ad 
limina. The bishop did not believe his own health could withstand the 
burdens of international travel, so the next ranking vicariate official, 
the Vicar General, had been appointed to take his place. "The 
Bishop's expression is in my opinion, evidence of feebleness and 
incapacity," Dennen advised the archbishop of Baltimore. "Please tell 
me what I should do." 60 The decision was that their report to the 
delegate should be prepared without delay. 

In this case the priest's evaluation was readily substantiated. Leo 
Haid's health was declining, and his physical infirmity was inhibiting 
his work as a missionary bishop. The abbot's health had generally 

been good through the years, though the complaints increased with 
time. The most serious problem of his earliest prelatial years came in 
1888, when "whilst laying out fences," he had suffered an 
unfortunate encounter with poison ivy, and found himself bedridden 
for four days and somewhat disfigured. 61 But such major episodes 
were rare, and he especially resisted any calls to rest or stay in bed. 
Yet time had brought rheumatism, 62 bouts of the grippe; 63 his teeth 
were never good; 64 he grew very sensitive to cold weather, and 
developed sciatica. 65 All of these were relatively minor burdens from 
which he could readily recover. In 1908, however, his physical 
deterioration began to accelerate. With only three teeth left in his 
upper jaw, he was annoyed to find even they hurt, so much indeed 
that travel had to be temporarily curtailed. 66 Then in 1909, two weeks 
before Falconio's visit, he fell ill— the malady pertained to his 
stomach, apparently, but was left unidentified in the official 
records— he was anointed, and reportedly almost died. 67 He was, 
however, sufficiently restored by the Solemnity of Benedict that he 
could preach as scheduled in the delegate's presence. Nevertheless, 
his doctor ordered him to take an extended rest that summer, which 
with great reluctance he endured in England and Scotland. 68 Haid 
was rejuvenated by this respite, nonetheless; he proved somewhat 
more prudent in his scheduling after that, and even accepted the 
necessity of having a traveling companion to assist him on longer 
journeys. Not until 1918, however, when he was weighted by the 
turmoils in Virginia as well as by his health, did he finally admit that 
"the burden is growing heavier and heavier," and resign himself to 
the necessity of a sempiternal retardation of his pace. 69 He was able to 
make only a fraction of his visitations in the missions that year, 70 and 
he never again resumed his full schedule. In 1920 he attended Peter 
Engel's jubilee in Minnesota; 71 then at the year's end he was ordered 
to bed. Yet he confided to Mark Cassidy, "I will not listen," 72 and in 
the spring he was forcing himself to keep up appearances. He went to 
Baltimore for the Cardinal's funeral; in the vicariate he invested 
Christopher Dennen and others as monsignors— but he attended the 
dinner that followed that ceremony only after being promised there 
would be no speeches. 73 That year, Oestreich took charge of the 
burden of the bishop's correspondence, admitting to the archabbot at 
Saint Vincent that the heat too 'is a little hard on him." 74 By 1922, 
Haid traveled only out of necessity, primarily for his episcopal duties. 
He even absented himself from the abbatial blessing of Engel's 
successor at Saint John, 75 the monastery that had given the bishop 
two such congenial spirits in Abbots Alexius and Peter. But both of 
those men were dead now. So were Wimmer, Zilliox, Gibbons, 


Northrop, and Price. Saint Vincent had already buried two 
archabbots; three abbots of Saint John had gone to their reward; two 
had died in New Jersey. Before the year was over, Innocent Wolfe, 
the only abbot in the American Cassinese Congregation to persevere 
through a reign that exceeded the length of Haid's, would die. The 
old ways were changing; the faces were new. But the abbot-bishop of 
Carolina lingered. He became the "Dean", the longest reigning abbot 
in the Congregation; finally he became the longest reigning bishop in 
America, again the Dean. But he did not die. He was ill, but the 
release of death was denied him. 

In Baltimore and Wilmington, the septuagenarian's decline seemed 
less the charge of a zealous apostolic career, than it was an 
opportunity for change. Dennen's report labeled progress through the 
last thirty-two years to be "slow." But had there been a "young, 
active Bishop with missionary zeal," he wrote, "we could be better 
advanced." The priest made no recommendation regarding the 
retention or dismemberment of the abbatial territory once Haid died, 
but the Benedictines should definitely be withdrawn from all the 
parishes outside that territory, he said; apparently, this included the 
counties from the 1891 grant, too, a right pertaining to the abbey's 
responsibilities in the state which Dennen did not elucidate for the 
archbishop. "Besides," he said, "all those places were founded by 
seculars." Dennen also accused Haid of misappropriation of funds. 
He had sent the delegate a copy of O'Donoghue's will, he said, to 
show how Saint Peter Church in Charlotte had been cheated. He did 
not mention, however, that he had failed to study the records of the 
estate, documents that showed the exactitude with which the will's 
provisions were met; he also neglected to advise the prelate regarding 
the Benedictines' possession of the parish under the provisions made 
by the Holy See in 1891 ; nor was there an explanation for the priest's 
failure to include the codicils to the O'Donoghue will among the 
materials forwarded. 76 

It was imperative that Haid's destructive hold on the Church in 
North Carolina be terminated, Dennen believed. But the 
Benedictines' power and influence in fighting this necessary 
restriction should not be underestimated. That, he believed, had been 
Price's error. Dennen told the archbishop, 

The year after the erection of the Abbatia Nullius Father Price induced all 
the bishops of the province to sign a protest to Rome[.J The late Cardinal 
Gibbons did not sign. The others received a rebuke from Rome. Cardinal 
Gibbons told Bishop Haid so, and he told me. So that part will have to be 
handled gingerly. 77 

The top priority for the moment, Dennen held, was to obstruct the 
plans that lay beneath Hintemeyer's journey to Rome. "The 
suspicion is," he explained, "that Felix will try and have the Holy See 
attach Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to the Abbatia Nullius' 
territory. This will cripple the work of the Secular Bishop[.] The Faith 
will suffer, and no progress can be made for the church." 78 "If Felix 
can get to Rome," he said, "without others being prepared, all 
previous work will be undone." 79 

Curley and Bonzano dined together a few days after Dennen filed 
his report. The archbishop warned the delegate that the Benedictines 
were in pursuit of Mecklenburg, and that they were prepared to offer 
Haid's episcopal resignation — in exchange for a compensatory 
appointment as a titular archbishop 80 — as their ultimate bargaining 
point for obtaining that territory. Michael Curley wrote the southern 
priest afterwards, "The Delegate gave me to understand very clearly 
that nothing of the kind would ever be done with his consent, but he 
added that as things are now, you can never tell when some 
influential person might bring the matter up in Rome and have 
something unforseen done." Dennen was advised to continue as he 
had been, and he should, Curley said, still be sure to "keep my name 
out of it." 81 

Quoting almost verbatim from the Dennen report, while 
appending some personal observations and signing his own name 
exclusively, the metropolitan filed his report concerning the Vicariate 
Apostolic of North Carolina and its abbot-bishop on 18 June 1923. 
This was his official recommendation: 

To my mind there is only one solution for the question and that is, on the 
death of the present Vicar Apostolic, to retain the Abbatia Nullius and to 
constitute the territory outside the eight counties of the Abbatia Nullius a 
Diocese. The Episcopal See might be placed in Wilmington, North 
Carolina, Asheville, or Charlotte." 

The report and recommendation were filed until their reactivation by 
the "death of the present Vicar Apostolic." 

Felix Hintemeyer, carrying in his trunks the relationes for the visit 
ad limina, a draft for one thousand dollars intended for the Holy 
Father, 83 and reportedly a petition asking to amend the abbatia nullius 
with the territory of Mecklenburg County, left Belmont on 27 May 
and landed in Naples on 10 June 1924. 84 Supposedly he was 
authorized to bargain away all the other counties except Gaston, in 
exchange for Charlotte. Documentation of these instructions, 
however, apparently does not exist. 

Before the prior left America, Curley had sent his Carolina cohort 
instructions to write the delegate immediately, should definite news 
of the Benedictines' ambitions for Mecklenburg be obtained. 
Bonzano was fully aware, Curley assured the priest, of "the whole 
situation of North Carolina." And it seemed already assured that 
once Leo Haid was dead the entire state, except for the abbatial 
territory, would be erected as a diocese. 83 Father Felix's itinerary 
called for him to journey from Naples to Montecassino where he 
would remain through 12 June. He was to spend four weeks in 
Rome, before visiting relatives in Bavaria. 86 In Naples he was met by 
Dom Mauro Inguanez, O.S.B., the guestmaster at the archabbey 
nullius. The Vicar General of Belmont "was so happy when he 
arrived," the Italian wrote, "but he looked tired already." Not 
planning to leave for Montecassino until three o'clock, the two 
monks stopped in a restaurant for luncheon. But in the midst of their 
meal, Hintemeyer fell ill, and Inguanez "took him in a motor to the 
nearest hospital," where the prior was diagnosed as having suffered a 
'light stroke," one that would necessitate less than a week being 
sacrificed for recovery. The archabbot of Montecassino was wired, 
and the prior of the archabbey went to Naples to oversee Father 
Felix's arrangements personally. A private room was secured. 
Inguanez took charge of those valuable trunks. 87 The patient even 
received a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Aosta, 88 who had 
heard of the presence of the illustrious invalid from America. 

Hintemeyer did well during his first days of convalescence. He 
regained the use of the paralyzed right arm and leg quickly. His spirits 
were good. But nephritis set in, and eight days after the stroke the 
monks were still not permitted to move him to more private quarters 
either at the Duke's palace, another private residence, or the 
archabbey. 89 Then after two more days of hospitalization, the prior's 
condition began to deteriorate. 90 Conscious of what was happening, 
Hintemeyer urgently instructed the Cassinese monk to safeguard the 
trunks, "especially the 'Relath ' of the Vicar of Belmont," and to 
sequester these items in the safety of Montecassino. 91 On Friday, 27 
June, while attended by the prior and guestmaster of Montecassino, 
Hintemeyer received the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. "He was 
very calm," Inguanez wrote Belmont, "during his illness he never said 
a word of complaint. He told me more than once that he was happy 
to receive everything [that came] from the hands of Our Lord/' 92 
Indeed, Dom Mauro reported that Father Felix's "resignation to the 
will of God was really edifying. One of the servants who assisted him 
and for twenty years did not go to confession was so touched by the 
patience and good example of Father Felix that he went to 
confession and received Holy Communion." 93 

Hintemeyer was unable to speak after the twenty-sixth, but he did 
not lose comprehension until Saturday the twenty-eighth. That 
afternoon Dom Mauro Inguanez cabled the abbot-bishop of North 
Carolina, that at two o'clock the Very Reverend Dom Felix Michael 
Hintemeyer, O.S.B., D.D., age sixty-two, became the six hundred first 
monk of the American Cassinese Congregation to enter upon his 
eternal rest. The body was carried from Naples to Montecassino on 
Monday, 30 June. Felix Hintemeyer was entombed there at the 
motherhouse of the Order of Saint Benedict on Wednesday, 2 July 
1924. 94 

At Belmont, Father Thomas, as the bishop's secretary, received the 
cable announcing the death of Father Prior, and it fell upon him to 
communicate the news to the abbot and friend of Felix Hintemeyer. 
Leo Haid received the announcement in silence; he did not even 
dictate a response to the cablegram. All the abbot ordered was a 
solemn requiem Mass to be sung in the Abbey Cathedral on the 
thirtieth, the day the body was to be taken to Montecassino, and 
presumably the day of interment , A stone in the prior's honor was 
later ordered for the Abbey Cemetery in Belmont. 

Father Melchoir Reichert sang the requiem at Belmont; Father 
Nicholas Bliley served as deacon. The bishop assisted from the 
throne, attended by Fathers Thomas Oestreich and Maurus Buchheit 
as pontifical chaplains. 95 The abbot met the death of his friend with 
edifying peace and an uncompromised silence. He spoke only for the 
solemn absolution and blessing for his faithful coadjutor. 

But if dignity prevailed at Belmont, with the abbot's silence and a 
succession of solemn liturgies on behalf of the deceased prior, there 
was considerable upheaval in Italy, where a variety of parties turned 
their attention toward the acquisition of Hintemeyer's luggage and 
the documents therein. According to Father Felix's instructions, the 
Montecassino monks had taken possession of the trunks, the two 
relationes, and the money for the Holy Father. Oestreich was aware of 
this, but failed to acknowledge the work of Inguanez. 96 That left the 
Italian monks unsure of Belmont's pleasure, and without direction 
for facing the interest that followed on the prior's death. Oestreich 
also did not inform Father Willibald Baumgartner, whom Haid 
appointed on 2 July to be Father Felix's successor as prior and Vicar 
General, 97 about the safety of the trunks. Apparently the new prior 
did not relinquish his parochial assignment in Winston and reach the 
abbey until three weeks after his appointment. 98 Then, in ignorance 
of where his predecessor's effects were, he wrote Father Gabriel 
Locher, O.S.B., at Sant' Anselmo in Rome, inquiring into the security 
of the luggage and its contents. For reasons that were not specified, 


he suggested that it was Oestreich rather than himself who was 
concerned regarding the whereabouts of these items. Locher replied 
that "no one here knows anything." One trunk, he recalled had 
reached Rome, but it had been removed to Montecassino after the 

Dennen too was interested in the luggage of the late Vicar General. 
He found that Curley was out of the country, however, so he 
addressed the delegate directly, asking that an effort be made to 
obtain the Relatio before it could be submitted to Rome by Haid's 
Benedictine agents. Dennen also wrote Curley, but only after his 
return to America. By this time, Father Dennen had inquired of 
Father Omer Matt, O.S.B., at the abbey, who "did the typing for 
Felix when he went to Rome and double crossed us as to the 
Vicariate." Thus he learned, as Fathers Willibald and Omer thought 
was true, that Sant' Anselmo possessed the precious documents. 100 
Acquisition of those papers by the agents of the American hierarchy 
should effectively prevent their submission, it was thought, so 
appropriate investigations were initiated. Subsequently, as inquiries 
were so frequently being sent to Sant' Anselmo, the primate asked his 
secretary to implore from Montecassino an account of Hintemeyer's 
effects. But in the spirit of the Benedictine Order's treasured 
autonomy, the archabbot nullius of Montecassino instructed his 
guestmaster to advise the secretary to the Abbot Primate that "we did 
not care to write and give these informations [sic]." 101 

The American Consul at Naples also inquired into the destiny of 
Felix Hintemeyer's possessions, and the Italian government seems to 
have expressed its interest, too. It is unclear what influence was 
exercised for the luggage to receive so much attention from such 
divergent sources. But the inviolability of the Archabbey of 
Montecassino won a hasty retreat from each of the interested parties. 
Inquanez wrote Oestreich, "I answered and told [the American 
Consul] that Father Felix during his illness consigned to me all that 
belonged to him, with instructions to send everything to you at 
Belmont. In such way we [also] avoided troubles from the Italian 
Law." 102 

The trunks were not retired from prominence until the following 
year, however. In January, the two relationes were withdrawn from 
the luggage by Dom Mauro, and were finally delivered to the 
Vatican. The Holy Father received his honorarium, too. 103 The 
trunks did not reach Belmont until May of 1925, 104 a full year after 
Prior Felix's departure from America. But by that time interest in 
these bags and their contents had waned, as conditions in North 
Carolina had been significantly altered. 

When the new prior had reached Belmont on the twenty-third, he 
found Bishop Haid seriously ill. Though the prelate had not been 
bedridden, he had consented to make only necessary public 
appearances. He had attended and granted an absolution at the 
requiem for his friend. A new, life-sized statue of Saint Benedict was 
blessed for the north courtyard at the abbey, and the abbot had 
received his last class of young men into the Order. But he did little 
else that required a public appearance. 

By the third week of July, the abbot's deterioration had increased 
significantly. His gall-bladder was troubling him; there was the 
general infirmity old age had brought; and he had also faced the blow 
to his spirit, caused by the early death of his prior, his confrere, his 
friend, on another continent while in the service of Belmont Abbey. 

In his last years, Abbot Leo had developed a theological precept 
that met the need for clearly focusing his spirituality on the Divinity. 
He adopted "this brief, but powerful motto: 'I go to the Father!' " 
That thought, that clarity of purpose, he said, enabled him to bear his 
cross and his crozier. He found that it helped him to loosen the 
bonds which bind us to this world — It will sweeten our 
departure — make death less to be feared — even desirable as the 
separation of the veil which keeps us from the home prepared for us 
in our Father's mansion." 105 

On 23 July the Benedictine patriarch was confined to bed, and 
received the last Sacraments of the Church. They were administered 
by Vincent Taylor, the Benedictine pastor in Greensboro. Taylor had 
gone to the abbey to pay homage to his monastic father and 
reportedly had begged the prior for the privilege of anointing the 
abbot-bishop who had ordained him a priest and received his 
monastic vows. 106 The abbot was only semi-conscious after receiving 
the Sacraments. 107 

At thirteen minutes past nine, on the morning of 24 July, Father 
Nicholas Bliley, O.S.B., wired the three dependent priories, "Bishop 
critically ill. End expected any time. Received Sacraments." 108 Abbot 
Leo lingered through the day, attended constantly by the Benedictine 
monks of Mary help who were his children. He lived on while the 
monks recited Compline, and offered the canticle. He tarried in this 
life until at half past nine, on the evening of 24 July 1924, Leo 
Michael Haid, monk of the Order of Saint Benedict, became the six 
hundred second member of the American Cassinese Congregation to 
enter the rewards of eternal life. 

He had written thirty years earlier: Upon his death there devolves 
on the deceased abbot the obligation to "pray for his widowed Abbey, 
and aid his former children. . . ." 109 Those children prayed that night 

at Belmont that this man whose great disappointment in life had been 
his creation by God with the propensity "to know [but] not to reach" 
his Lord, had finally found happiness, had finally fulfilled his 
aspiration, "I belong wholly to God;" 110 "I go to the Father!" 111 

the Widow moupns 

Brother George Poellath, O.S.B., sacristan of the Abbey Cathedral, 
spent the night preparing the testimonies proper to a "widowed" 
throne. On the morning of the twenty-fifth, the monks found the 
cathedral doors and the abbatial-episcopal throne draped in black 
cloth. The Missal was set for the first public requiem for the bishop. 
And Prior Willibald, now Apostolic Administrator of the abbey and 
of the vacant Sees of Belmont and North Carolina, appointed Father 
Vincent to offer that Mass. 112 

The body of the abbot was dressed in the vestment he had worn in 
December of 1893, when he celebrated that first Mass in the Abbey 
Church of Maryhelp. On Saturday, 26 July, at seven o'clock in the 
evening, the remains were translated to the cathedral, borne in 
procession to the place where they would lie in state. The Gastonia 
Gazette and Charlotte Observer gave daily coverage of the activities at 
Belmont, and speculated that Hintemeyer's untimely "death may 
have hastened Haid's." 113 Father Michael Irwin wrote Baumgartner 
expressing the same thought: "His sorrowful death [was] caused no 
doubt by a heart-breaking grief." 114 

On Monday, the monks gathered around their father's body and 
chanted the solemn Office of the Dead. Baumgartner then called for a 
Grand Silence in the monastery until after the funeral on the next 
day. The newspapers reported 

Daily, mourners have filed in and out of the large brick edifice, for a glimpse 
at a departed leader and to kneel for a few minutes in prayer at the altar. . . 
The only sounds have been the click of heels and now and then a suppressed 

Outside the Cathedral, all has been quiet. The shuffle of feet on the 
sidewalks has been the only sound heard, as mourners have trod slowly 
forward along the walks leading to the church. 

Inside the cathedral, Brother George sat vigil, and surveyed the 
strangers who had invaded his monastery's church to visit the 
Benedictine patriarch. 

From Charlotte, Gastonia, even from distant points, have come women in 
silks and satins, not a few in tattered dresses, and men, some strong, others 
broken, who have moved silently past the candle-lighted bier in which 
rested the frail remains of a churchman so dear to the hearts of thousands. 
Dressed in purple robes, his bishop's mitre upon his head and a pectoral 
cross in his gloved hands, lay an American born of simple Pennsylvania 
parents who . . . rose to be Vicar Apostolic of the commonwealth of North 
Carolina and Dean of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy in the United States. 
In death as in life his face retained the serene calm of prelate and scholar." 5 

While the people processed, the monks too were busy. The priests 
offered Masses sequentially. Brothers prepared the bishop's grave, 
situating it beneath the figure of Christ on the huge crucifix which 
dominated the monastery's cemetery. As Vicar Apostolic, Leo Haid 
could have requested burial at the Pro-Cathedral in Wilmington, just 
as Gibbons had chosen to be laid in the crypt of his cathedral in 
Baltimore. As an abbot-nullius, Haid possessed the privilege of 
interment in the Abbey Cathedral. But Leo Haid, who had reminded 
his confreres years earlier that he was "a monk before I was either a 
priest or a Bishop," 116 had asked to lie among his fellow monks. His 
grave was positioned so that the crucifix towered over his remains; 
his priests' graves were to his right, the brothers' to his left. The grave 
of Jeremiah Joseph O'Connell was at his feet, to the left. To adorn 
the bishop's grave, Michael Mclnemey designed a marble and granite 
tomb, inscribed with the abbot's dignities and the three coats-of-arms 
he had used. The insignia of his office, in relief, appeared on the body 
of the monument, crossed over the vault. 117 Mclnerney's design 
eloquently showed two croziers at odds. 

For his funeral on Tuesday, 29 July, the Dean of the American 
hierarchy 118 was honored by the presence of his fellow bishops, Hugh 
Boyle of Pittsburgh and Patrick Barry from Florida. The Ordinaries 
of Richmond, 119 Charleston, Baltimore, 120 and Savannah, all Sees of 
the province, sent personal representatives. The abbots of Saint 
Mary, Saint Bernard, Saint Leo, Saint Procopius, and the archabbot 
of Saint Vincent attended, as did monks from New York and 
elsewhere. Thirteen vicariate priests, several from Charleston, and of 
course the monk-priests of Maryhelp, vested for the pontifical 
requiem and interment. Charles Mohr, abbot of Saint Leo and son by 
vow of the deceased prelate, pontificated at the Mass— it was thought 
that an abbot rather than a bishop should commend the soul of Leo 
Haid to God. Hugh Boyle delivered the eulogy, however. Father 
Subprior Melchoir served as archpriest of the Mass. Fathers O'Brien 
and Watkins, representing the vicariate clergy, served as deacon and 
subdeacon respectively. The ceremoniarius was Father Nicholas, 
assisted by Aloysius Wachter as prefect. 121 


The Solemn Pontifical Requiem Mass was sung at Maryhelp 
Cathedral by Abbot Charles, at ten o'clock that morning. As the 
privilege of the throne stood vacant, and was forbidden to the prelate 
of another jurisdiction anyway, Abbot Charles celebrated ad 
faldistorium while folds of black fabric occupied the cathedra alone. 

Into the beautiful Cathedral at the Abbey— the handsome brick pile about 
which the Bishop's life work revolved — poured prelates of equal rank, 
Benedictine priests and secular-clergy, nuns, monks and other members of 
his own flock. Hundreds stood in the aisles, unable to crowd into the seats 
occupied by hundreds of others, and in the rear and outside the Cathedral 
were hundreds [more], bareheaded who stood reverently for two hours 
while the Pontifical Requiem Mass was being sung. 122 

Boyle, Ordinary of the abbot's native See, spoke of this monk's 
'luxuriant mind" and his "wealth of character." He lauded Abbot 
Leo for, "His vivid and attractive personality and his altogether 
unusual gifts of mind and character, [which] have made him live in 
the affection and esteem of those from whom he has been parted 
[after] the long period of his ministry." 123 Then, at the conclusion of 
the Mass, Bishops Boyle and Barry, Archabbot Aurelius, and Abbots 
Ernest and Charles performed the solemn absolutions. 124 After that 
the great bell in the cathedral's major tower began the toll; it 
harmonized with the clock that just then struck noon. 125 

The schola cantorum of the monastery alternately sang the Miserere 
and the Benedictus, 126 while the six priestly pallbearers carried the 
bishop's remains from his cathedral to the monastic cemetery. There 
a simple interment service was conducted. Only the monks and the 
deceased's closest associates were permitted near the grave, but there 
were "hundreds of [other] mourners standing a short distance away, 
their eyes dimmed with tears and suppressed sobs choking the throat. 
The casket was [then] lowered to an early grave as it was sprinkled 
with holy water." 127 As the body descended, a monk intoned the 
"Ultima, " a hymn begging the intercession of the Mother of God at 
"the last hour." The chant was entered by the schola cantorum and all 
the monks. 

And with that prayer to his highly favored "Virgin Most Faithful," 
Leo Haid was returned to dust. It marked the end of a life not 
without its monuments of success. His God had called him to be a 
monk first, then to the abbacy, and finally to be a missionary and 
bishop. The statistics verified the wisdom of that Divine commission. 
By 1924, the vicariate had more than eight thousand Catholics, more 
than sixty churches, more than fifty priests; there were three 
hospitals, two orphanages, parochial schools, academies, convents, all 

in North Carolina where prior to the appearance of Leo Haid the 
Church could not even maintain a bishop. This man was 
acknowledged as the father of five monasteries, each with a school; 
he was the only abbot-ordinary in the country, a Roman Count, 
Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, Dean of the American Abbots, 
Dean of the American Hierarchy; he had left behind him the 
separated territory that was the abbatia nullius and which to him was 
the most significant aspect of his legacy. 

But Leo Haid did not die happy. That he did not achieve. And the 
reason lay not in the contentious spirit of his priests, the active 
interests of his monks, nor even in the loss of his friend just one 
month earlier. Leo Haid was not satisfied for reasons that were far 
more intimate to his spirit and the aspirations that had so strongly 
colored his character and his work. By the call of God he had lived as 
a bishop, an active missionary apostle for Christ and His Church. But 
he had never been able to tear his heart away from the cloister of his 
monastery. Leo Haid believed he had been "created to know [God]," 
yet he had found it was his destiny "not to reach [Him]." And "this," 
he said, is "to lose all. I belong wholly to God. I must serve Him with 
my whole soul and body. Have I done this? Am I doing it now?" And 
the answer, he feared, was negative, and "my end must be in keeping 
with my soul." 128 

Professionally too, he had been unable to find peace. He never 
understood how it could be that his efforts should attract such scorn. 
The last petition from Christopher Dennen, signed by all the secular 
priests of the vicariate, would have mystified him even further, and 
yet it was typical of how the subordinates of the abbot-bishop judged 
him, and how little they understood the Benedictine ethos that lived 
at the core of his values. The document accused the Vicar Apostolic 
of weakness, irresponsibility, lack of zeal, fiscal corruption, and 
selfishness. Yet the priests unanimously swore, 

Let me emphasize this fact. No expression in this testament is to be 
construed as a criticism of Bishop Haid or reflecting on him. No Bishop 
could be kinder to his priests than Bishop Haid; and the secular priests have 
frequently expressed this point. 129 

Michael Irwin recognized this dichotomy of response — the 
magnetic pull toward Abbot Leo's charisma and good intentions, the 
dissatisfaction with his episcopal reign and his monastic heart. Irwin 
wrote Father Willibald that the monk who was also a bishop had 
lived outside — or at least beyond — his own time. 

The late Abbot-Bishop was a marvelous man for his day and for what was 
expected of him in his time. He pressed forward and ran his appointed 
course as a giant. At the dawn of a new era God called him to his reward for 
his work was finished. We are now in a New Age. The old order changeth. 

Despite that, however, Michael Irwin believed Leo Haid had erected 
a singular monument of success that would out-live the rancor of his 
time, and speak to later generations of a good man who had left 
behind him a true opus dei in the foothills of the North Carolina 
mountains. He said, "I cannot conceive of a place outside of Heaven 
itself where there was to be found a deeper spirit of holy joy than I 
[have] found at Belmont [Abbey], at first as a youth, then later as a 
mature man." 130 

Leo Haid had made much the same point when he reminded both 
those who praised him and those who criticized him, "The greatest 
merit belongs to others. I would have miserably failed without the 
Monastery, College, and Seminary. . . I speak these words [as] simple 
truth." 131 In the end, his body like his heart had found its only rest, its 
true support, in the precincts of his monastery. 

At thirty-nine anno regni of his abbacy, and thirty-six anno regni of 
his episcopate, the aspiration finally bore fruit: "I go to the Father!" 

Ultima in mortis bora, 

Filium pro nobis ora. 
Bonam mortem impetra, 

Virgo Mater Domina. 
Bonam mortem impetra, 
Virgo Mater Domina. 132 


the Crozigr timns lnwaR6 

Willibald Baumgartner was far too gentle a man to deal with the 
tempests that assaulted his brief and inglorious tenure as 
administrator. 1 Both the monastery and the vicariate suffered pangs 
of instability in the absence of the mitre, after its uninterrupted reign 
of more than three decades. Father Willibald lacked the personal and 
administrative character for taking charge and maintaining order. So 
his subordinates were generally left to their own devices, a situation 
of which they took full advantage. The prior's rather abstract 
approach to governance also left him unaware of the work of 
Christopher Dennen, who while sending regular reports to Belmont 
regarding his troublesome 2 fellow priests, 3 did not neglect to inform 
Baltimore of the "sad state of affairs" at the abbey. 4 Nevertheless, 
Father Dennen did send a sympathetic and percipient message to the 
beleagered pro-vicar: "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." 5 

That, however, was a lesson learned early in his tenure as pro- 
vicar, and Baumgartner already looked forward to relinquishing his 
authority to whomever the Benedictines chose to succeed Leo Haid. 
So the election Chapter was convoked at Belmont less than a month 
after the bishop's death. In the apostolic mandate, the monks were 
called upon to name an abbot nullius, who would thus be nominated 
vicar according to the provisions of the Bulla Erectionis of 1910. 


Five names dominated the pre-election scrutinies, the sixth obvious 
candidate, Thomas Oestreich, having been removed from contention 
by untimely ill health. There was still Alphonse Buss, age forty-seven, 
who was Master of Novices, Prefect of Clerics and Seminarians, and 
the monastery's artist and printer. Bernard Haas, age fifty-eight, the 
most broadly experienced of the five men, was a proven 
administrator, pastor, and educator. Michael Mclnerney, age forty- 
seven, showed talent for practical administrative duties, but had 
never served at the priories, held an executive position in the 
monastery or schools, nor given himself to a full schedule of either 
pastoral or educational duties. Vincent Taylor, age forty-seven, had 
spent his entire monastic life since ordination in parish work; he was 
well liked, but not well known. And Willibald Baumgartner, age 
seventy-one, experienced in the priories, pastoral work, and teaching, 
had acquired a reputation as a gentle, fatherly monk, of high virtue, 
but limited executive talent. All five of these monks were respected 
members of the Belmont cloister, and each — with the possible 
exception of Taylor, whose long absence rendered judgment 
uncertain — was considered a man of solid monastic values and 
observance; accordingly, the distinctions for each candidate tended to 
flow from other qualities. 

Buss quickly fell from contention when complaints surfaced 
regarding his work with the novices. 6 Baumgartner's reticent 
leadership, in combination with his advanced age, served to eliminate 
him, as well. Taylor, a gracious, gentlemanly Virginian who 
represented the best aspects of pastoral concern coupled with 
devotion to Maryhelp, emerged as a strong factor in the election, and 
the obvious choice for those monks who urged the importance of 
pastoral commitments. Mclnerney was the candidate who 
represented the best chance for maintaining some of the prestige that 
the monastery had enjoyed under Haid. Father Michael's talents, his 
possession of a reputation that was already national in scope, the 
distinction of his work, all endorsed his abbatial potential. And as 
Buss informed Taylor, Father Michael was held in particularly "high 
esteem" in the monastery at this time. 7 Mclnerney also had the 
advantage of representing a reasonable compromise between the 
demands of the cloister and those of the apostolate. Finally, Bernard 
Haas was an outstanding candidate for a position of leadership. If 
Haid had died during the illness of 1909, Haas would have been a 
leading candidate to succeed him. But by 1924, with the years and a 
weak heart having cost him noticably, Haas was less promising, 
except as an interim abbot whose reign nature would be likely to 
characterize by brevity. 

The second abbot-ordinary of Belmont was elected on 20 August 
1924. Forty-five votes were cast, four of which were by proxy. By the 
second ballot, Buss and Baumgartner were no longer being 
considered. The next vote saw Haas drop from contention. On the 
fourth ballot, Vincent George Taylor passed Michael Mclnerney; he 
emerged as abbot-elect of Maryhelp and the abbatia nullius? and as the 
nominee for the throne of the Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina. 

Since Roman approbation was required both for the monastic and 
the diocesan offices, the monks expected to have to await 
confirmation for at least six weeks. The Benedictines were not aware 
that Curley and the Delegate were petitioning for the erection of a 
North Carolina diocese; thus they were also ignorant of the fact that 
Vincent Taylor would not be confirmed in any position, until it had 
been determined whether the vicariate would continue or be erected 
as a diocese; whether the abbot-elect possessed the rights to the office 
even if the diocese were created; and whether Taylor should receive 
episcopal consecration even if he did not receive the throne of either 
the vicariate or the new North Carolina diocese. 

The interregnum was an uneasy period, made worse by the 
prolonged wait for Rome's decision. The delay was lengthened not 
only by the efforts to have the vicariate terminated, but by the failure 
of the Benedictine agents to take immediate action. The primate's late 
entry into the confirmation effort, caused by some confusion of 
papers and communication, enabled Dennen, Curley, and the 
delegate to win a full hearing for their case, to register their requests 
and objections, and thus to initiate an inquiry into the apparent needs 
of the Church in North Carolina. Therefore, Belmont received no 
word from Rome in September; the wait continued through October, 
and into November. Then matters were further complicated when 
Willibald Baumgartner wrote one of his cordial letters to the praeses, 
Ernest Helmstetter of Saint Mary Abbey in New Jersey. Intending to 
speak from a perspective of humility more than fact or information, 
Father Willibald advised Abbot Ernest that 'the whole Community 
prefers to have the care of the Vicariate given to somebody else." 9 
Abbot Ernest communicated this surprising news to the primate at 
once, since Maryhelp's renunciation of its right to the vicariate paved 
the way for Taylor's immediate confirmation. Indeed Abbot Ernest 
speculated that the approval might be granted within two days. The 
primate informed the Curia that Belmont was no longer interested in 
retaining jurisdiction over the entire state and that the abbot-elect 
would be satisfied with being an abbot-ordinary without episcopal 
consecration. 10 

Rome was certainly surprised by this turn of events, but not as 
much as was the abbot-elect. Indeed perhaps no one was more 
surprised to hear of the renunciation than was Vincent Taylor, who 
was quick to disagree with the prior's belief that "the whole 
Community" was not interested in retaining the vicariate. Taylor was 
extremely interested in retaining the vicariate, and advised the praeses 
that he had no intention of renouncing the episcopacy. If Rome 
desired that he be only an abbot-ordinary, he would certainly resign 
himself to that dignity, but he refused to pretend that he preferred 
that resolution for the delay in his confirmation. Taylor reminded 
Helmstetter that Rome granted the Chapter at Mary help '"a free 
hand' in the appointment of a Vicar"; the election was held with that 
in mind, and he believed he had been properly nominated for the 
throne of the vicariate. "Our representatives in Rome," he judged, 
"have not handled the situation in a very intelligent manner." 11 

It was too late, however, for Baumgartner's work to be rectified. 
For the first time in the three months since the election, the 
Benedictine agents in Rome had acted promptly. The supposed 
abdication of the vicariate and episcopate had already been 
communicated to the Curia. In the first week of December, 
immediately following receipt of Maryhelp's renunciation, the 
decisions regarding North Carolina had been made. On 12 December 
Vincent Taylor's formal confirmation as abbot nullius of Belmont was 
issued and published, without granting him the right of episcopal 
consecration. 12 As Leo Haid had correctly predicted thirty-four years 
earlier, his "successor.. .would sway the crozier one way 
only — inward." 13 

Although Father Willibald had provided for the resolution of the 
more than sixteen weeks Taylor had awaited confirmation, his was 
not the only influence at work. Since Curley was still out of the 
country when Haid died, Dennen immediately wrote Pietro 
Fumasoni-Biondi, who had replaced Bonzano as Apostolic Delegate. 
The Pope's representative was advised of the contents of the several 
communiques to his predecessor; the Legation made further inquiries 
of Dennen; the priest replied immediately, and the process began for 
terminating the Benedictine domination of the Catholic Church in 
North Carolina. 14 After his return, Curley also was active in urging 
the step. Remarkably, all of these endeavors were undertaken 
without any inquiry being placed with the pro-vicar; not even a 
statistical report was requested. The ruse that made it possible to 
avoid consulting with, and thus alerting, the Benedictines was 
Archbishop Curley 's specious insistence that he had never been 

informed who was serving as Apostolic Administrator of the 
vicariate; thus, it was reasoned, how could there be contact? And the 
Apostolic Delegate, noting Curley 's solicitous concern for his 
suffragan See, was satisfied to deal directly with the Metropolitan. 15 
The prelate of Baltimore was, however, sufficiently aware of 
Father Willibald's administrative duties that he assisted the 
Benedictine's removal from office. As late as 5 December, Father 
Willibald still believed the vicariate's administration would be 'left in 
our hands." He had sent that observation to Father Arthur Freeman, 
a vicariate priest who forwarded it by Special Delivery post to 
Dennen, who in turn sent the letter to Curley with the notation, 
"comment on my part is unnecessary." 16 Curley wrote to Christopher 
Dennen in response, on 9 December 1924, assuring him sub secreto 
that everything had already been decided. "North Carolina is to have 
a Bishop of its own," he said. The abbatia nullius "is to continue of 
course," the archbishop added, but its territory would not be 
changed. 17 

This last reference relates to Dennen's unsubstantiated charge of 
1922, regarding the Benedictines' ambitions for Mecklenburg 
County. Haid never submitted a request for the expansion of the 
nullius, of course. Indeed there is no available documentation to 
authenticate the contention that the petition — supposedly carried by 
Father Felix — even existed. In support of the belief in the petition 
there may be cited the prior's extreme concern regarding the safety of 
his trunks and their contents; Haid's explicit statement of interest in 
changing the boundaries of the nullius\ and the testimony of Nicholas 
Bliley who supposedly formulated the proposal, and of Omer Matt 
who supposedly typed it. But if Haid signed this petition, what was its 
fate? Obviously part, if not all, of Prior Felix's concern regarding his 
luggage related to the draft for one thousand dollars. He makes no 
reference to the supposed petition. Also, in all the correspondence 
from Inguanez, the man who was privy to the contents of 
Hintemeyer's trunks and responsible for them, reference is made to 
only two relationes. These were both finally submitted to Rome in 
January 1925, by agents familiar with their contents — after the new 
North Carolina diocese had already been created, and when a request 
by a deceased bishop to take a county from the defunct vicariate, 
now created but not erected as a diocese, would have been ludicrous 
at best. Haid had sent reports to Rome concerning the Vicariate 
Apostolic and the abbatial 'diocese'; but there is no proof of any 
petition, it seems, for revising the territory of the nullius. He did desire 
the acquisition of Mecklenburg County by the monks; it appears that 


he even had a petition to that effect drafted; but there is insufficient 
evidence to support the contention either that he did request the 
territorial change, or that the impetus for the two year effort by 
Dennen and Curley had proceeded from a foundation more solid 
than supposition. 

The Diocese of Raleigh, erected to replace the Vicariate Apostolic 
of North Carolina, and embracing that body's former territory, was 
created on 12 December 1924, the same day as the confirmation of 
Vincent Taylor as abbot ordinary. On 17 December the Sacred 
Consistorial Congregation informed Archbishop Curley of the 
erection, and advised him of the unusual step to be taken regarding 
the territory's governance until the first bishop was appointed. The 
current administrator, Father Willibald, who did not reside in the 
new diocese but in the abbatia nullius, was to be removed. As his 
replacement the Sacred Congregation had selected Michael Curley, 
who lived in Baltimore. 18 This extraordinary step was confirmed by 
the Bulk when published. 19 Curley advised Baumgartner that the 
Benedictine should remain as administrator until the archbishop 
reached North Carolina and formally erected the new diocese with 
the public reading of the Bulla.™ After that Curley would name his 
own vicar general to care for the diocese while the administrator 
resumed residence in Maryland. But Baumgartner was uneasy about 
continuing in his office for even that brief period of time, since he was 
unsure that Curley had the right to make such an 
appointment — before the documents had been read and thus before 
the archbishop actually became the administrator — and since Rome 
so obviously desired him to surrender the governance of the Catholic 
Church in North Carolina into other hands. Father Willibald was 
also concerned about the imbalance at Belmont resulting from his 
retaining administration of the vicariate after having transferred the 
reins of the monastery and nullius to Taylor. But Curley assured 
Baumgartner that the Benedictine was "still Administrator of the new 
Diocese in every sense of the word," 21 and asked that the erection of 
the new Raleigh jurisdiction be scheduled for 12 March 1925. 22 

Taylor, unaware of Curley's activities regarding the Benedictines, 
asked the archbishop to be the prelate who granted him the abbatial 
blessing. 23 Father Willibald, also unconscious of the work of Curley, 
Dennen, Freeman, and others, cheerfully and naively wrote in his 
official report for the new administrator, "I am glad to state, that my 
relations with the Seculars were most pleasant." 24 In particular this 
rather incredible statement shows Baumgartner's ignorance regarding 
Father Dennen 's work. That priest had recommended much more 

than the erection of a new diocese and the restrictions for the 
Benedictines. He also called for an investigation of the Benedictine 
priory in Richmond, since he was sure that vicariate monies had been 
sent there; 25 moreover, he advised that an inquiry be made into the 
O'Donoghue estate of two decades earlier, and into the conditions at 
the Benedictine parish in Charlotte, Saint Peter. 26 Dennen visited 
Curley in Baltimore on 19 January, 27 arranged the itinerary for the 
new administrator's tour of the North State, 28 and submitted in all 
humility to his appointment as the first vicar general of the Diocese of 
Raleigh. 29 Once the appointment of the new bishop, William Hafey, a 
member of the episcopal household in Baltimore, was announced, 
Dennen offered his first affront to Belmont's second abbot. He 
informed Vincent Taylor that the long-standing practice of 
"entertaining him and his blind sister at [Dennen's] cottage" would 
have to end. That summer Father Dennen replaced Abbot Vincent 
and Miss Mary Taylor with Hafey. 30 

Curley filed a lengthy report with the Apostolic Delegate on 10 
April 1925, regarding the condition of the Catholic Church in North 
Carolina. The appraisal was based on the archbishop's observations 
during the twenty-one days he spent in the state, and information 
gathered at Belmont and from Dennen. Archbishop Curley expressed 
particular concern regarding the counties held by the Benedictines. 
These were largely Protestant, of course, but they were, he believed, 
wealthy and thus of interest to the new diocese. Curley also 
speculated that it might be possible to rest the 1891 counties out of 
the Benedictines' control. "If demands were made by the new Bishop 
on the Abbot for more Benedictine Fathers for the Counties," he 
reasoned, "the Abbot could not supply them. . . ." Vincent Taylor, 
Curley noted, 

has his own difficulties in the matter of his monastic regulations and the 
work. At the present time, he has twenty-four Priests at work in the 
Dioceses of Richmond, Savannah and Raleigh. The result is, that he is short 
of men at home in the Monastery, particularly for the work of teaching. As 
the result of the death of the Bishop and the Vicar General, the Monastic 
Seminary is at the present time very poorly equipped with Teachers of 
Philosophy and Theology. The new abbot is fully alive to all his difficulties, 
and is determined to start at once to improve conditions. 31 

And that is what Vincent Taylor did, restructuring commitments in 
order to maximize the abbey's strengths and utility. He also 
cultivated cordial relations with Hafey, and pretended not to notice 
the indignities that marked his relations with Curley. 32 He was, in 
many ways, the perfect man to follow the flamboyant success of Leo 


Haid, and to administer the necessary reduction in the abbey's 
commitments. Taylor was a man of charm and courtly manners. In 
the post-bellum South, he was that highly prized quasi-patrician 
known as the "Southern Gentleman." He was gracious; his character 
was as strong as his accent was smooth and mellifluous. To women 
he was always "charmed;" men were heard with a nod of the head 
and a facade of interest. Expression of his own values, however, was 
often held discreetly in check — as the dichotomy between the 
recollections of his associates and the documents of his reign so 
clearly expresses. Nevertheless, Vincent Taylor earned a solid 
reputation as a "gentleman." 33 

The commencement of his tenure had been rough. His first act as 
abbot-elect had been to order improvements, new furnishings, and a 
thorough redecoration and renovation of the abbatial apartments. 
Even with Father Michael closely supervising the work, the cost 
neared two thousand dollars. 34 But after that first gesture of 
plutocratic inclinations, he settled into the economy of restructuring 
priorities at Belmont, and soon afterwards of facing the Great 

Taylor withdrew the monks from Bristow (1927), made large 
expenditures in Richmond and Savannah, and definitively 
established the remaining Virginia project as a priory. At the abbey 
he permitted the construction of the Haid Gymnasium (1929) and of 
an annex to Jubilee Hall (1954), but beyond that he had little interest 
in brick edifices. Athletics interested him more; the playing field at 
the college was improved, the grandstands upgraded, the handball 
alleys and tennis courts made permanent. The library was finally 
given proper housing and staffing (1939). Having a better eye for 
practical matters than his predecessor, Taylor set the monastery 
personnel records in order, redesigned the abbey's corporate 
structure, and had all the deeds reissued according to the norms of 
contemporary legal clarity. He reigned until 1956 in the monastery 
and 1959 in the nullius. 

Belmont Abbey College was the most striking success of Taylor's 
tenure. The abbot reorganized the school in 1928, making it a junior 
college and a preparatory school. These were accredited and then 
slowly enlarged while Abbot Vincent sent monks to prepare for 
teaching assignments by earning advanced degrees in the secular arts 
and sciences. Finally, in 1952, Belmont Abbey College became a full, 
four-year, liberal arts college. It won accreditation in 1957. 

Taylor's successor was Walter Coggin, a Richmond native who 
held a doctorate in philosophy. Coggin, more than anyone else in the 

sixty years that followed the first abbot's death, ruled Belmont in the 
spirit of Leo Haid. While a man of deep spirituality who took no 
pleasure in issuing commands, but seriously pondered the paternity 
of his position, Abbot Walter was also a great builder. During his 
tenure as vicar to Abbot Vincent and then as abbot ordinary in his 
own right, he constructed a library building, science hall, three 
dormitories, a students' refectory, and a new athletic centre and 
natatorium. He closed the preparatory school and seminary, and 
focused the monks' work more clearly on the college. Coggin, as a 
reigning diocesan Ordinary, was a Father at the Second Vatican 
Council, and oversaw the adaptations that followed on the 
Counciliar pronouncements. The Savannah priory, which had first 
been voted independence in the 1950's, only to have that status 
denied by Abbot Vincent, finally acquired its autonomy in 1961, 
after Coggin had been elected to the throne at Belmont. 

Abbot Walter was succeeded in 1970 by Edmund McCaffrey, by 
Jude Cleary in 1975, and Peter Stragand in 1978. It was with this 
succession of leaders that Belmont met the centennial of the arrival of 
the first monks in Carolina, and began reevaluating its parochial 
commitments, refocusing attention on affairs of the cloister and the 
demands of the educational apostolate. This was an effort specifically 
recommended by Rome. 35 In 1983, there were approximately fifty 
monks for the choir. Ten of these were in Richmond; three were in 
parishes, two in chaplaincies; the rest were in residence at the abbey 
or undertaking advanced studies. 

The men of Haid's era should also be mentioned here. Of the ten 
monks who were the abbot's first associates, Melchior Reichert 
survived the longest. After a lengthy pastorate to the blacks, work in 
hospital ministry, and service as subprior of the abbey, he died in 
1940. Father Willibald served as prior and vicar general until his 
death in 1930. Julius Pohl went to his grave six weeks after Leo Haid. 
William Mayer, Roman Kirchner, Patrick Donlon, George Lester, 
and Felix Hintemeyer preceded the bishop in death. Abbot Charles 
survived until 1931 . In 1938, Walter Leahy died as a parish priest in 
New Jersey. 

Bernard Haas suffered a heart attack in 1927, and was removed 
from his office as the Richmond prior. He survived until 1933. 
Ignatius Remke succeeded Father Willibald at the parish in Winston 
in 1924; then in 1927 he succeeded Bernard Haas in Richmond, his 
own home town. Remke died in 1944. Thomas Oestreich left the 
rectorship of Belmont Abbey College in 1924, but continued in 
teaching and seminary work. Finally his health required his removal 

to the chaplaincy of Saint Joseph Hospital in Asheville, where the 
Sisters of Mercy cared for him, while he tended to the spiritual needs 
of the patients. He died in 1943. Gilbert Koberzynski preceded Haid 
in death by four years; Francis Meyer passed away fifteen years 
before Brother Gilbert; Oswald Moosmueller died four years before 
Meyer; but Katharine Drexel lasted into the 1950's. 

Michael Mclnerney survived until 1963. In his senior years, Saint 
Vincent awarded him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his 
artistic contributions to the Benedictine Order through a career of 
more than half a century. Joseph Tobin served two terms as prior of 
the monastery and one as Apostolic Administrator (during the 
interregnum of 1959-1960). When the Diocese of Charlotte was 
finally erected on 12 January 1972, in vindication of Gibbons' 
prediction, Father Joseph became its Vice Chancellor. He died in 
1978. Bishop Hafey and his successor in Raleigh, Eugene 
McGuinness, were attentive to the Benedictines of Belmont; both 
were promoted to other Sees. Not until Vincent Waters, the third 
Ordinary of Raleigh and an alumnus of Belmont, did a prelate retain 
the office until death. Christopher Dennen enjoyed the respect of the 
people and prelates of North Carolina throughout his life. When he 
died in 1939, he was buried in the cemetery at Belmont Abbey, a few 
yards from the grave of Leo Haid. 

Bishop Waters tried to introduce the cause for the beatification of 
Thomas Frederick Price, but found insufficient arguments to support 
a contention of sanctity. Monsignor Charles Gable, a priest of 
Raleigh who was first affiliated with the vicariate and had studied in 
the Belmont seminary, tried to collect "miracles" attributed to Leo 
Haid's Heavenly intercession. This project was preparatory to 
introducing the abbot's cause for canonization in Rome. 
Unfortunately, no miracles were ever reported. 

Finally, there must be considered the true Haid legacy, the abbatia 
nullius of Belmont. Vincent Taylor took a greater interest in 
evangelization and parochial work within its precincts than had his 
predecessor, but his success was not outstanding and did not satisfy 
Rome. The Holy See suggested that the abbot-ordinary petition for 
the partition of his territory, so that the abbey's limited personnel 
might better serve their nullius 'diocese'. 36 Taylor acquiesced, and in 
1944 the nullius was restricted to the three hundred fifty square miles 
of Gaston County. In 1960, the territory was partitioned again, 37 
reducing it to the five hundred acres of the monastery grounds, an 
area generally lacking in permanent secular residents. Thus the abbey 
became the smallest 'diocese' in the world. This partition was 

particularly lamented in Belmont because it separated the Sisters of 
Mercy at Sacred Heart Convent — faithful coadjutors whose presence 
was greatly treasured — from the abbatia nullius, and placed them in the 
Diocese of Raleigh. 

Then on 1 January 1977, by request of the American bishops, the 
abbatia nullius was suppressed. Ironically, the termination of the 
separated territory came at the conclusion of the monastery's first 
century, the point at which Haid had believed it would be most 
needed. Though still exempt, of course, Belmont Abbey became 
territorially a part of the Diocese of Charlotte. The Abbey Cathedral, 
the only one ever erected in the United States, returned to its original 
status as the 'Abbey Church of Maryhelp'; only the National Register of 
Historic Places continued to recognize it as a "cathedral". Yet the 
suppression of the nullius was greeted with surprising warmth at the 
abbey. There were three main reasons for this: 1) The pastoral 
obligations of the abbatial 'diocese' had already died with the 
partition of 1960; 2) the gracious first Ordinary of Charlotte, Michael 
Begley, then reigning, was a loving and benevolent friend to the 
Benedictines, and was convinced of the importance of the monastic 
witness in his territory; and 3) the monks realized that for the first 
time since 1887, their abbatial father would not be bound by the 
travels, obligations, and absences that followed on membership in the 
episcopal conference and visits ad limina. The suppression of the 
abbatia nullius diocesis was received with pacific resignation by the 
monks of Belmont, who saw therein fresh opportunities for 
actualizing Benedictine values. The suppression of the abbey's 
diocesan character was not taken as the termination of the dream of 
Leo Haid. 



AAB Archdiocesan Archives of Baltimore (Maryland) 

AAM Archives of the Abbey of Maryhelp (North Carolina) 

AANB Archives of the Abbatia Nullius of Belmont (North Carolina) 

ACF A Archives of the American Cassinese Federation of the Order of Saint 
Benedict (Pennsylvania) 

BACA Archives of Belmont Abbey College (North Carolina) 

BPA Archives of Benedictine Priory (Georgia) 

BSA Archives of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and 
Colored People (Pennsylvania) 

CFMSA Archives of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America (New 

DCA Archives of the Diocese of Charleston (South Carolina) 

D.RAH.A. Archives of the Diocese of Raleigh (North Carolina) 

D.RICH.A. Archives of the Diocese of Richmond (Virginia) 

DSA Archives of the Diocese of Savannah (Georgia) 

D.SU.A. Archives of the Diocese of Superior (Wisconsin) 

NDUA Archives of the University of Notre Dame (Indiana) 

PAR Provincial Archives of the Congregation of the Holy Redeemer (New 

RB Regula Ben edict i 

SAA Archives of Sant' Anselmo Abbey (Rome) 

SBAA Archives of Saint Benedict Abbey (Kansas) 

S.BE.A. Archives of Saint Bernard Abbey (Alabama) 

SBMA Archives of Saint Benedict Motherhouse (Bristow, Virginia) 

SBPA Archives of Saint Benedict Priory (Virginia) 

SCSA Archives of Saint Charles Seminary (Maryland) 

SJA Archives of Saint John Abbey (Minnesota) 






Archives of Saint Leo Abbey (Florida) 
Archives of Saint Mary Abbey (New Jersey) 

Archives of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome [microfilm at The 
Catholic University of America]) 

Archives of Saint Vincent Archabbey (Pennsylvania) 

Special notations 

1 . Primate indicates the reigning Abbot Primate of the Order of Saint Benedict: 

Hildebrand de Hemptinne, O.S.B. (1893-1913) 
Fidelis de Stotzingen, O.S.B. (1913-1947) 

2. Delegate indicates the Apostolic Delegate to the Church in the United States at the 
time indicated: 

Francesco Satolli (1893-1896) 

Sebastiano Martinelli, O.S.A. (1896-1902) 

Diomede Falconio, O.F.M. (1902-1911) 

Giovanni Bonzano (191 1-1922) 

Pietro Fumasoni-Biondi (1922-1933) 
Apostolic Delegation is used when the communication indicated was not issued over 
the Delegate's signature. 

3. When a number is given after the designation for an archival repository, this 
indicates that a copy of the material cited is on file at Maryhelp, numbered as 

4. For cataloged materials at Belmont, the official repository for the Haid papers, the 
filing designation is indicated in brackets following the reference. For subsequent 
references to cited material, the filing information is not ordinarily repeated. 

5. Because of their shared repository, listings for AAM, AANB, and BACA have all 
been given ordinarily as AAM. 

6. For compact reference, periodical citations are rendered here according to their 
place in the several volumes of Publicity Files in AAM whenever possible. 


the I6eal Of Benedict 
Of nupsia 

'Benedict lived from c. 480 to 547. Nursia is located about seventy-five miles 
northeast of Rome. 

Kjregorius Magnus, Dialogues, ii, 1. (J.P. Migne, Patrologia Latina, 66 [Paris, 1847], 

Hbid. Benedict had only about three years of solitude, before a priest, shepherds, and 
various others came to see the budding vir dei. 
*Ibid., 3. This may have been Vicovaro, but certainty is lacking. 

Hbid., 8. 
7 Ibid. 

8 Cf. Regula Benedicti, caput xlviii. 

'Ibid., lxvii. 
l0 Cf. ibid., xlviii. 
"Ibid, xxxi, Iv. 

n "Officina vero ubi haec omnia diligenter operemur claustra sunt monasterii et stabilitas in 
congregatione ." Ibid., iv. 
"Ibid., liii. 

"Ibid., ii, iii, lxi, lxiii. 

{, "Cbristo omnino nihil praeponant ." Ibid., Ixxii. 

''Ideally, the will is perfected by obedience. 
11 RB, Prologue. 

"The horarium is the daily schedule of the monks. Benedict gives instances when the 
hour is rearranged, for example, regarding work, prayer, and meals. Cf., for example, 
RB, xli. 

l9 RB, xli. 

10 Conversatio includes, among other factors, poverty and celibate chastity. 
2l RB, xlviii. 

22 For example, ibid., xxxv. 
"Ibid., ii, xxi, lxv. 
u Ibid. t lviii. 
"Ibid., Ivii. 
26 Ibid., viii-xix. 



"Ibid., xx. 

2t Ibid„ xi-xv, for example. 
"Ibid., xix. 

i0 Ibid., XX. "Et non in multiloquio, sed in puritate cordis et compunctione lacrimarum nos 
exaudiri sciamus. Et ideo brevis debet esse et pura oratio. . ." 
""Nihil operi Dei praeponatur." Ibid., xliii. 
"Ibid., xxii. 

"Cf. Ibid., xlii, xlviii., etc. 

"Instances of these problems are highly varied in character and content. Three of the 
best known examples were the Maurists, Cluniacs, and Cistercians. The Maurists 
placed inordinate emphasis on scholarly work; Cluniacs led an extraordinarily 
liturgicized existence— even farm laborers proceeded to their toils in static And most 
importantly, the well-intentioned Cistercian "reform", created the observance that 
now serves as the popular notion of a monk. 

"Gregory (c. 540-604), on his Sicilian estates, arranged the establishment of six 
monasteries that would follow the Regula Benedicti. His villa in Rome became the 
Monastery of Saint Andrew, and Gregory served as a monk of that house. 

"Gregory (c. 540-604), on his Sicilian estates, arranged the establishment of six 
monasteries that would follow the Regula Benedicti. His villa in Rome became the 
Monastery of Saint Andrew, and Gregory served as a monk of that house. 

"Wilfrid (634-709), though remembered as less than an ideal monk, did prove a leader 
for the role Benedictines were to play in the arts. He believed each new monastery 
needed its share of singers, masons, and artisans. 

"Bede the Venerable (673-735) is the epitome of the monastic scholar. 

"Though the schools favored, primarily, the members of the monastery, the learning 
was disseminated more extensively in these early days than the educational 
opportunities. In this, Benedict Biscop (628-690), who taught Bede (among others), is 
an example. It was Benedict Biscop who forcefully insisted on the importance of a 
scriptorium in the monasteries of the day. 

"Pope Gregory II (d. 731). 

"Boniface was killed in 754(5) when natives objected to the loss of a sacred arbor at 
the good Bishop's hand. 

4, Here, as in England, the schools were firstly for the monks, or in a larger sense were 
seminaries. These eventually broadened into wider forms of educational activities. 

4 The five were: Saint Vincent (Pennsylvania, 1855), Saint John ([originally "Saint 
Louis'! Minnesota, 1866), Saint Benedict (Kansas, 1876), Saint Mary (New Jersey, 
1884), and Maryhelp (North Carolina, 1884). 

"Boniface Wimmer (1809-1887) was not the first Benedictine to labor in the 
Americas, but his was the first permanent Benedictine settlement in North America. 

ChApteR I: 

michael hite 

'Details of this journey were given in various contemporary newspaper and journal 
accounts. See 'Talconio at Belmont," The Charlotte Daily Observer (18 October 1910), 
1. Also, "Pomp and Ceremony at Belmont Abbey: Pope Confers Honor," The 
Charlotte News (18 October 1910), 1,7. Also, "America's Only Abbatia Nullius" The 
News Letter (November, 1910), 2. Also, "Apostolic Delegate's Reception," The News 
Letter (November, 1910), 4. 

2 "Falconio at Belmont," and "Apostolic Delegate's Reception," ibid. 

3 Ibid. This distinction, known as an abbatia nullius diocesis (an abbey of no diocese), 
exceeds other titles because it creates a jurisdictional independence (of a quasi-diocesan 
character), and thus a significant form of ecclesiastical exemption. Most other 
distinctions, such as the title "archabbey," are merely honorific. Cf. Chapter WW, infra. 

4 "Falconio at Belmont," 18 October 1910. 

'"Apostolic Delegate's Reception," November, 1910. 

"Talconio at Belmont," 18 October 1910. 

7 AAM. Publicity Files, Volume v. "Distinction Won by Former Pittsburgher," 
[unlabeled press clipping] c. June 1910. 

•Haid was ordained a titular bishop after being named head of the Vicariate 
Apostolic of North Carolina. 

'Haid was praeses of the American Cassinese Congregation of the Order of Saint 
Benedict for two terms, 1890-1896. 

,0 For most of the materials in the history of the Haid/Hite family, I am indebted to 
the efforts and generosity of Arthur Hite, the genealogist of Bishop Haid's family. A 
documents and correspondence file, courtesy of Mr. Hite, is maintained in the Abbey 
Archives at Belmont. As of this writing, the file is active and has not been catalogued 
into the collection. The only known source for the Unity Township location is in the 
archives of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania. 



12 Census reports are inconsistent in citing her age. The family name is sometimes 
spelled Stader, also. 

,3 AAM. Hite file. Cf. supra, no. 10. 

"SVA. Baptismal Register for Saint Vincent Church, 17 February 1848 entry. 
"Ibid., 17 August 1849. 

"Mr. Hite's work, accomplished in the 1970's and 1980's, has graciously been placed 
at the disposal of this volume's needs. 

"Sebastian Doris, Belmont Abbey: Its Origin, Development, and Present State (Belmont, 
North Carolina: [privately published] 1971 [revised edition]), 46. 

"AAM. Hite file, and 1870 Census Report. 

20 Ibid. 

2, SVA. 


"Photographs reveal that Haid did not start his beard until some some time between 
1877 and 1879. In a photograph at Belmont (dated 1877) he is clean-shaven; in one 
dated 18 March 1879, there is a beard (though not a long one). 

"The Abbey Archives at Belmont has only one photograph showing the Haid 
profile, and that is a candid shot. 

"In addition to his nose, Haid seems to have had some pause regarding his lack of 
height. In photographs he ordinarily posed seated. When he stood, he ordinarily 
donned a tall hat, or at least a biretta. 

"By tradition, Haid was given his religious name out of fond memory for Father Leo 
Rau, OSB. SVA. Seminarists' Symposium, Volume v, 102. See also, Felix Fellner, Abbot 
Boniface and His Monks [unpublished typescript], 634, and 641, n. 53. Haid told of the 
origin of his name in an interview with Fellner on 5 October 1904. 

"Jerome Oetgen's biography of Wimmer is the only complete source published 
regarding the Abbot. This is an indispensible volume for all American monastic 
studies. Jerome Oetgen, An American Abbot (Latrobe, Pennsylvania: The Archabbey 
Press), 1976. 

"Wimmer even hired a layman in order to secure the quality of music at Saint 
Vincent Archabbey. He also sent a monk who later served at Belmont, Father Gerard 
Pilz, OSB, to study art in Europe. For further information, cf. Fred J. Moleck, "Music 
At Saint Vincent Archabbey Under Boniface Wimmer," The American Benedictine 
Review (June, 1963), 248-262. 

"Saint Vincent had Wimmer's largest seminary, but other independent monasteries 
of the Federation, at various times, also maintained a faculty to educate at least their 
own members who were preparing for ordination. 

'"Of course, there is no way of knowing how Wimmer would have handled that 
point, supposedly reached a century into the missionary monastery's existence, when 
the character of the house begins the transition toward the more traditional formulae 
of cenobitic values. Archabbot Boniface did his part. He established these monasteries, 
gave from his own bountiful supply the first breath of spirit, a spirit that was a 
perceptive amalgamation of a fourteen centuries old monastic modus vivendi with a 
distinctly American — some would say, too American — modus operandi. It was an 
uncomfortable union at times, but his legacy nonetheless. And each of his 
foundations, throughout their first century and beyond, was bound to deal with it, 
understand it in light of new times and changing visions, exercise it under leaders who 
never knew Boniface Wimmer, and live it with integrity in a manner recognizable as 
monastic, Benedictine, and authentic to the particular, autonomous monastery. The 
traditions of Benedict and Wimmer do not always seem compatible on the surface, yet 


Wimmer did see that the Benedictine missionaries succeeded in their initial, and 
primarily priestly, endeavors, before the task of engendering a pervading spirit of 
monasticism fell to the Archabbot's successors. Leo Haid, and the four abbots who 
followed him in the first century of Belmont Abbey, were all charged with reconciling 
the vision of Wimmer with the tradition of Benedict, but only Haid carried with him 
the experience of having served Wimmer himself. 

31 Novices tend to have their visions of spiritual integrity challenged by any number 
of issues. Among the more common ones are the sight of their abbot as a fallible being, 
monks as weak; brothers seem holier than the priest-monks; there seems too little time 
for prayer; educational apostolates are distracting; some monks seem lax; the Regula is 
adapted and perhaps compromised; the liturgy becomes repetitive and may seem an 
occasion of drudgery; and countless other threatening "realities." 

"Oetgen's biography [cf. supra] is the best source for surveying Wimmer's theories of 

"He was particularly vocal on behalf of Wimmer in the upheavals of 1882. 

34 Haid's vows are preserved in the monastery archives at Belmont. (Ml , No. 1 Vows) 
Actually his first vows have a misspelling, "Heaid"; his solemn vows have "Haid", 
written clearly and precisely. 

"Fellner, Abbot, 634. 

36 SVA. Archivist's file regarding Haid. 


"Major John Andre went through several printings before the plates were destroyed in 
the Great Fire of Baltimore (7-8 February 1904). A subsequent edition was published 
by the Belmont Abbey Press. 

39 Haid declined to volunteer for any of the monasteries which were elevated to 
abbatial status, including Belmont. 

40 Oetgen, American, 258. 

4, ACFA. Minutes of the General Chapter, 1881. Cf. also, discussion in Fellner, 
Abbot, 662. 
42 ACFA. 

43 SJA. Letter from Wimmer to Alexius Edelbrock, 9 March 1883. 

"Newark and North Carolina became independent in 1884; Alabama in 1891. 
Foundations in Chicago and Wetaug were refounded, moved, and reorganized 
through the years; eventually there were two abbeys (Saint Procopius [Lisle, Illinois] 
and Saint Peter [Canada]) which at least traced their roots to these cities. As for 
Baltimore, Richmond, Saint Mary's, and Erie, none produced an independent 

45 Cf. Fellner, Abbot, 625. 

♦'SBAA. Letter from Wimmer to Wolf, 27 May 1883. 

47 SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Joseph Amberger, 25 January 1885 (misdated 

"SBAA. Letter from Wimmer to Wolf, 27 May 1883. 
49 SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Utto Lang, 3 November 1883 (copy). 
"■SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Amberger, 20 August 1884. 
"SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Amberger, 25 January 1885. 


"SBAA. Letter from Wimmer to Wolf, 27 May 1883. 
54 Cf. ibid. 

"SVA. Letter from Wolf to Wimmer, 31 May 1883. 

"SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Henry Northrop, 8 June 1883. 

"SVA. Letter from Northrop to Wimmer, 13 June 1883. 

"SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Cardinal Simeoni, 7 July 1884. 
59 Cf. Fellner, Abbot, 627-628. 

"SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Augustine Pucci-Sisti, 3 July 1884. 
6, SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Simeoni, 7 July 1884. 
"SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Amberger, 25 January 1885. 
"SVA. Letter from Pucci-Sisti to Wimmer, 17 October 1884. 
"Cf. Fellner, Abbot, 628. 

"SAV. Letter from Wimmer to Amberger, 25 January 1885. 
"A AM. Bull of Erection for Maryhelp Abbey, 19 December 1884. 
"SVA. Letter from Northrop to Wimmer, 31 January 1885. 
"SVA. Notice to capitulars from Wimmer, 20 January 1885. 
69 ACFA. Protocol of election, 11 February 1885. 

70 It is interesting that each of these men eventually became abbots: Zilliox and 
Pfraengle in New Jersey, and Hintenach at Saint Vincent. 
71 Fellner, Abbot, 631. And ACFA. Protocol of election, 11 February 1885. 
72 ACFA. Ibid. 

74 Some years later, Leo Haid recalled this story from the departure of the capitulars: 
"As some of the Fathers were walking to Latrobe to take the evening train, they met 
two neighbors, who never were friendly to Saint Vincent and its activities. As they 
passed them, one of them remarked rather loudly to the other: 'God be praised, the 
priest factory is breaking up.' However, one of the Fathers in a happy frame of mind 
quickly retorted: *By no means, we are only swarming.'" Fellner, Abbot, 632. 

75 Oetgen, American, 256. 

76 Cf. Jerome Oetgen, "Oswald Moosmueller: Monk and Missionary," The American 
Benedictine Review (March, 1976), 1-35. 

77 Wimmer had no way of knowing either what Moosmueller was about to do or that 
Zilliox would reign for barely more than one year. 

7 *SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Lang, 22 March 1885. 

"Fellner, Abbot, 632. Cf. Letter from Wimmer to Bruanmueller, 23 March 1885. 
•°SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Lang, 22 March 1885. 

"SBAA. Letter from Wimmer to Wolf, 17 February 1885 [translator unidentified]. 
"SVA. Cf. also letter from Wimmer to Bruanmueller, 23 March 1885. 
"SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Amberger, 20 August 1884. 
"Cf. Fellner, Abbot, 632. 

"Cf. Oetgen, American, 281. 

"Fellner, Abbot, 632. 

,7 Cf. SBAA. Letter from Wimmer to Wolf, 20 February 1885 [translator 


"AAM. Letter from Moosmueller to Pohl, 14 February 1885. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius 
Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence] 
"•SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Lang, 22 March 1885. 
"SBAA. Letter from Wimmer to Wolf, 18 April 1885. 

92 Ibid. 

"SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Bernard Smith, undated (summer, 1885). 
**SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Bernard Smith, 20 June 1885. Smith's papers are 
preserved at Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome). 
"Cf. SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Lang, 20 June 1885. 



97 AAM. Letter from Wimmer to Pohl, 7 July 1885. [M8, No. 1. Abbatial Election 

9, Cf. SBAA. Letter from Wimmer to Wolf, 1 1 April 1885. 
"Cf. SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Amberger, 15 July 1885. 
,00 SBAA. Letters from Wimmer to Wolf, 11 April and 2 June 1885. 

m Md. 

l02 SVA.Letter from Wimmer to Lang, 21 December 1885. 
103 SBAA. Letter from Wimmer to Wolf, 1 1 April 1885. 

"Two capitulars were at Maryhelp that summer: Placidus Pilz, who was prior, and 
Julius Pohl, the rector of the college. Only the latter was interested in attaching 
himself permanently to Maryhelp. 

,05 ACFA. Elencbus, 14 July 1885. 

106 The brothers had no voice in Chapter, and were not enumerated with the ten 

m AGFA. Elencbus, 14 July 1885. 

10, AAM. Julius Pohl's election calendar, entry for 14 July 1885. [M8, No. 1. 
Abbatial Election Materials] 

IW ACFA. Elencbus, 14 July 1885. 
"°AAM. Pohl's calendar, 14 July 1885. 

in Ibid. 

"Tellner, Abbot, 634. 

,,3 AAM. Pohl's calendar, 14 July 1885. 

" 4 Ibid. 
ui Ibid 

"Tellner, Abbot, 634. 

"'AAM. Pohl's calendar, 14 July 1885. 

u9 Ibid 

m Ibid, 15 July 1885. 
121 Fellner, Abbot, 635. 

Chapter? ll: 

a Opeam of Slight pRomise 

•SVA. Letter from Jeremiah O'Connell to Wimmer, 15 July 1885. 
2 SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Utto Lang, 24 September 1876. 
5 Cf. discussion infra. 

'O'Connell died in 1894, one month short of his seventy-third birthday. 

5 AAM. William F. O'Brien, "Doctor Jeremiah O'Connell: Author of Catholicity in the 
Carolinas and Georgia." Unpublished typescript, p.l. [B5, No. 1. O'Brien, William F., 
Reverend] Valuable biographical information and corroboration is also found in 

Jeremiah Joseph O'Connell, Catholicity in the Carolinas and Georgia: Leaves of Its History 

(New York: Sadlier, 1879). 
'O'Connell, ibid., 244. 
7^., 245. 
'Ibid., 247. 
'Ibid, 248-249. 
l0 Ibid„ 477. 

"Cf. John Tracy Ellis, The Life of James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, 
1834 1921, Volume I (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1952), 78. 
'HD'Connell, 290. 

"Bill Sharpe, "Gaston," A New Geography of North Carolina, Volume II (Raleigh: 
Sharpe Publishing Company, 1958), 765. 
l4 Ibid., 766. 

"Robert F. Cope and Manly Wade Wellman, The County of Gaston: Two Centuries of a 

North Carolina Region (Charlotte, North Carolina: Gaston County Historical Society, 
1961), 26. And Minnie Stowe Puett, History of Gaston County (Charlotte, North 
Carolina: Observer Printing House, 1939), 110 and 113. 
"Cope, 69. 

I7 AAM. Assignment of Bid, 18 December 1871, John F. Wooten to Jeremiah 
O'Connell. [J3, No. 2. Land: O'Connell, J. J.] 



"Ibid. The deed mistakenly notes 536 acres being transferred. 
"O'Connell, 478. 
"Ibid., 479. 
2l Cope, 106. 
22 Cf. Sharpe, 771. 

"The 1870 census showed 12,602 people in Gaston County; 18,430 were white; 
4,172 were black. 

"The county had deposits of ceramic quartz; the clay would be good for bricks; there 
was iron, tin, and even gold. Sharpe, 761 . 
"Cope, 1 . 
"Ibid., 160. 
"Sharpe, 765. 
"Ibid., 763. 

2, "Gaston never knew agricultural prosperity. The small farms ordinarily were self- 
sufficient; . . . and the yield was low." Sharpe, 765. 


31 Cope, 8. 

"John Walker, a dairy farmer, reportedly owned the area's first slave. She served 
him as a domestic, and was purchased around 1763, in Charleston. Cf. Cope, 18. 
"O'Connell, 478. 

"Blackwell P. Robinson, The North Carolina Guide (Chapel Hill: University of North 
Carolina Press, 1955), 385. 
"O'Connell, 478^79. 
"Cf. Ellis, Life, I, 62. 

""I retain jurisdiction over the Vicariate of N[orth] Carolina, till the H[oly] F[ather] 
is pleased, at the suggestion of the B[isho]ps of this Province, to appoint a B[isho]p for 
N[orth] Carolina]. " D.RAH.A. James Gibbons, Diary {Acta Episcopalia), entry for 29 
August 1872. 

"O'Connell, 479. 

"AAB. Gibbons' diary, 26 June 1875. 

*°SVA. Letter from Gibbons to Wimmer, 1 August 1875. 


42 AAB. Gibbons' dairy, 26 June 1875. 
"Ibid, 3 April 1875. 

"Records of the reasons for the refusal have not been retained by the Redemptorists. 
Their archivist, Father Alfred C. Rush, C.SS.R., theorized that the reason was this: 
"At that time the C.SS.R. work was completely confined to the urban centers of the 
East in our province. Many a year would pass before we moved into the South." 
AAM. Letter from Rush to Paschal Baumstein, 25 May 1983. [uncatalogued 

45 0'Connell, 472. 

**SVA. Letter from Gibbons to Wimmer, 1 August 1875. 
47 SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Lang, 24 September 1876. 

4> 0'Connell claims to have been offered $50,000 for the mine. Cf. O'Connell, 479. 

4, Bishop Lynch had already tried to secure the Benedictines for South Carolina. Cf. 
discussion in Oetgen, American, 148, 219. 

"AAM. O'Brien's transcription of Gibbons' remarks at the dedication of Maryhelp 
Abbey Church in 1894. William F. O'Brien, "Early History of the Origin of Belmont 
Abbey College and the Coming of the Fathers of the Ancient Order to North 
Carolina" (unpublished typescript, six pages), 3. [B5, No. 1. O'Brien, William F., 

"Cf. SVA. Note by Wimmer of 17 August 1875, on letter from Gibbons of 1 August 

"SVA. Letter from Benno Hegele to Wimmer, 17 January 1876. 
"SVA. Chapter Minutes, Saint Vincent Archabbey, 19 January 1876. 
54 SVA. Letter from Hegele to Wimmer, 20 January 1876. 
"SVA. Letter from Hegele to Wimmer, 26 January 1876. 

"SVA. Copy of letter (with translation) from Wimmer to Amberger, 20 August 

"SVA. Official file on Herman Wolfe. Cf. also, Fellner, Abbot, 523, n.9. And AAM. 
Letter from Michael Irwin to Sebastian Doris (?), 8 March 1928, quoted in Doris, 
Belmont, 19. Also AAM. Letter from Philip Hurley to Ambrose Keefe, 1 March 1976. 
[uncatalogued materials] 

"SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 26 January 1876. 


"AAB. Gibbons' diary, 25 March 1876. 

6, SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 26 January 1876. 

"O'Connell, 479. 

"He would not have them until April. 

"SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 5 April 1876. 

"Various dates apply, as described infra. 

66 AAM. Will of Herman Wolfe, 29 March 1876, and the later will of 26 August 

"These are all the known documents of the period dealing with the original five 
hundred six acres and its conditions of transfer. Given the complexity of these 
negotiations, it is not inconceivable that additional versions were considered, also. 

"AAM. Deed from O'Connell to Gibbons, 11 October 1875. [J3, No. 1. Land: 
O'Connell, J.J.] 

"AAM. Contract from "Wolfe'M3ibbons to O'Connell, 1 1 October 1875. [J3, No. 2. 
Land: O'Connell, J.J.] 

70 AAM. Deed from Gibbons to Wolfe, 13 March 1876. [J3, No. 1 . Land: O'Connell, 

71 AAM. Will of Herman Wolfe, 29 March 1876. [E10, No. 1. Vows and Documents 

"AAM. Deed from O'Connell to Gibbons, 11 October 1875. 
7J AAM. Contract from "Wolfe'VGibbons to O'Connell, 11 October 1875. 
74 AAM. Deed from O'Connell to Wolfe, 17 July 1876. [J3, No. 1. Land: O'Connell, 

"AAM. Will of Herman Wolfe, 26 August 1876. [E10, No. 1 . Vows and Documents 

7< AAM. DeedOocument from O'Connell to Wolfe, 15 November 1877. [J3, No 1. 
Land: O'Connell, J.J.] 

"AAM. Deed from O'Connell and Wolfe to Wimmer, 3 December 1877. [J3, No. 4. 
Land: O'Connell, J.J.] 

"AAM. Letter from Wimmer to Haid, 2 May 1886. [J3, No. 4. Land: O'Connell, 

"Cf. SVA. Letter from Philip Cassidy to Wimmer, 27 October 1876. 
"Letter from Michael Irwin to Sebastian Doris (?), 8 March 1928; quoted in Doris, 
Belmont, 22. 

•'SVA. Personnel files. And O'Connell, 481482. And AAM. Letter from Hurley to 
Keefe, 9 March 1876. 


,2 SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Michael Regen (?), 7 August 1876. Gibbons actually 
apologized for the poor crops: AAM. Letter from Gibbons to Wolfe, 13 October 1876. 
[AO.O, No. 1 . Gibbons, James Cardinal] 

,3 SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, [date unclear] July 1876. 

"Doris, Belmont, 10. 

"SVA. Personnel File on Cassidy. 

"O'Connell, 481. 

,7 As Wolfe phrased it, "It was difficult at my age to work with the old gentleman." 
SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 1 1 October 1880. 
"SVA. Letter from Cassidy to Wimmer, 27 October 1876. 
"SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 14 September 1876. 
'"SVA. Letter from Joseph Keller to Wimmer, 4 March 1877. 
"O'Connell, 488489. 

"SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 5 July 1876. 
"O'Connell, 481. 

"SVA. Letter from Keller to Wimmer, 4 March 1877. 
"SVA. Letter from brothers to Wimmer, 8 April 1877. 

"It has been suggested that this was his second visit, but that appears to be 

"Oblates are non-monastic affiliates of the Order, who accept special pious 
responsibilities but take no vows. 

"Cf. Fellner, Abbot, 519. Brother Altman Alt had been added to the menage. 

"AAM. Letter from Wimmer to Pohl, 1 January 1878. [M8, No. 1. Boniface 

,00 Cf. Oetgen, American, 266 ff. 

,0, AAM. Letter from Wimmer to Pohl, 6 August 1879. [M8, No. 1. Boniface 

l02 Ibid. 

103 SBAA. Letter from Wimmer to Innocent Wolf, 23 May 1883. 

,04 SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Lang, 3 November 1883. 

,05 SVA. Letter from Edwin Pierron to Wimmer, 14-15 September 1883. 

l06 Ibid. 

107 SVA. Letter from Moosmueller to Wimmer, 10 March 1877. 
10 *AAM. Personnel records on Pohl. And Doris, Belmont, 18-19. 
IW SVA. Personnel Files on Stephen Lyons. Also ACFA. Correspondence regarding 
Lyons. Cf. also, SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 11 October 1880. 
"°SVA. Letter from Pohl to Zilliox, 3 July 1879. 
"'SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Zilliox, 29 July 1879. 
" 2 SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 11 October 1880. 

" 3 AAM. Annual Statement for calendar year 1880, signed by Wolfe. [Jl, No. 1. 
Abbey (1881)] 

" 4 SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 21 August 1877 (enclosure). 
,,5 SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 11 November 1877. 
I16 SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Lang, 21 December 1880. 
" 7 AAM. Annual Statement for calendar year 1880. 
n, SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Lang, 9 March 1880. 

,,9 AAM. Letter from Wimmer to Pohl, 1 November 1880. [Al .O, No. 1 . Julius Pohl, 
OSB, RP— Correspondence] 
,20 Cf. Fellner, Abbot, 625-626. 
12I AAM. Annual Statement for calendar year 1880. 


'"Enrollment sources differ appreciably. Whenever possible, enrollment figures in 
this volume are taken from the transcript records. Figures vary, of course, within each 
year. Whenever possible, the maximum number enrolled has been used, without 
regard to the period of any particular student's perseverance. 

'"AAM. Letter from Irwin to Doris (?), 8 March 1928; quoted in Doris, Belmont, 20. 

,24 SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Wolfe, 18 April 1885. 

125 SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Wolfe, 1 1 April 1885. 

,2 *AAM. Letter from Northrop to Pohl, 9 October 1882. [Al.O, No. 1 Julius Pohl, 
OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

l27 D.RICH.A. Letter from Lawrence O'Connell to Bishop Keane, 27 June 1879. 

12, SVA. "Saint Mary's Boarding School For Boys" (four page brochure). Cf. also, 
SVA. Letter from Wolfe to Wimmer, 17 July 1877. 

m AAM. Letter from Wimmer to Pohl, 6 August 1879. [M8, No. 1. Boniface 

1J0 AAM. Letter from Irwin to Doris (?), 8 March 1928; quoted in Doris, Belmont, 20. 

"'Saint Mary's College Catalogue, 1880-1881 (1881). 

'"SVA. Letter from Lyons to Wimmer, 26 July 1881. 

'"SVA. Personnel File on Cyprian Moncton Creagh. 

,34 SVA. Letter from Creagh to Wolfe, 6 February 1878. 

'"SVA. Letter from Creagh to Wimmer, 15 April 1884. 

136 Cf. AAM. Letter from Wimmer to Pohl, 7 August 1884; also Wimmer to Pohl, 21 
August 1884. [M8, No. 1. Boniface Wimmer] 
'"AAM. Pohl's calendar, 15 July 1885. 

n% lbid. 

n9 Ibid., 20 July 1885. 
i40 Ibid., 27 July 1885. 
i41 Ibid., 26 July 1885. 

u2 At this point the monks were distributed thusly: Willibald, Richmond; Melchior, 
Savannah; Julius, Carolina; Leo, George, Patrick, Walter, and Charles, en route from 
Virginia to North Carolina; Felix, Bernard, Francis, and Benedict, Saint Vincent. 
Roman and William have escaped mention in any known reputable sources. 

143 SVA. Personnel files. 

'"AAM. Pohl's calendar, 27 July 1885. 

""AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i. "Right Reverend Bishop Leo Haid Completes His 
Fiftieth Year As a Benedictine," Pittsburgh Observer (Thursday, 4 December 1919), 1 
and 16 [quoting Charles Mohr]. 

'**AAM. Address by Haid, 17 October 1910. Reprinted in The Jubilee Book of Belmont 
Abbey (Belmont: Abbey Press, 1910), 26. 

I47 AAM. Pohl's calendar, 28 July 1885. 

'*"The Benedictine Abbey of Belmont, North Carolina," American Ecclesiastical 
Review (December, 1910), 720-721. 

Chapteo III: 

A mitRed abbot 

'SVA. Letter from Boniface Wimmer to Joseph Amberger, 25 January 1886. 
2 RB, Prologue. 
Hbid., xlviii. 

4 AAM. Julius Pohl's election diary, entries for 29 and 31 July 1885. 
'Ibid., 6 August 1885. 


7 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Leo Haid to Boniface Wimmer, 13 August 1885. 

«AAM. Cf. Pohl's diary, entries for 10-20 August 1885. 

'Ibid., 19 August 1885. 

"Ibid., 2 August 1885. 

Hbid., 4 August 1885. 

l2 Ibid., 8 August 1885. 

""Without congregation," sometimes known as "private Mass". 
14 AAM. Pohl's diary, 19 August 1885. 

"J.S. Bassett, "A North Carolina Monastery," Magazine of American History 
(February, 1893), 132-133. 

"A AM. Pohl's diary, 8 August 1885. 
"Ibid., 26 August 1885. 

"On 23 August, for example, Pohl counted sixteen visitors, fourteen of whom had 
journeyed from Charlotte. There were so many guests that Haid was obliged to 
request donations after serving dinner to so many people. Ibid., 23 August 1885. 

"Ibid., 25 August 1885. 

20 I bid . , 26 August 1885. 

21 AAM. Letter from A.L. Rives to Leo Haid, 29 August 1885. [Al.O, No. 1. 


"A AM. Letter from William J. Wright to Leo Haid, 29 October 1885. [Al .O, No. 1 . 
Wright, William J. (Railroad Company)] 

"SVA. No. 5. Letter from Leo Haid to Boniface Wimmer, 15 September 1885. 
"SVA. No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 4 September 1885. Cf. also Robert Lee 

Stowe, Sr., Early History of Belmont and Gaston County, North Carolina [(no publisher 

indicated) 1951], 49. According to this recollection, Haid paid one fourth of the total 
expense. The road is described as "about the worst in the county." 
"Cope, 149. 

"AAM. Insert for school Catalogue. Also, AAM, Chapter Minutes, 26 August 1885 
(first meeting). These were the fields in which the men were to be prepared to function: 

Leo Haid. president; English literature, bookkeeping, commercial law, 
political economy, elocution, arithmetic, Spanish, moral and dogmatic 

Julius Pohi. Director (Rector) of the College; phonography, violin, vocal 
music, religion, and liturgy 

William Mayer, doctrine, Latin, German, geography, history, liturgy, 
English grammar and composition, arithmetic, spelling, reading, and 

George Lester: French, German, penmanship, reading, spelling, history 
(American and Bible), and geography 

Patrick Donlon: algebra, geometry, trigonometry, English grammar, 
reading, spelling, and Latin 

Walter Leahy, rhetoric, composition, arithmetic, bookkeeping, chemistry, 
natural philosophy, English grammar and literature, elocution, geography, 
and history 

Roman Kirchner. prefect of students; Latin, Greek, and German 
Charles Mohr. prefect of students; Latin, German, piano, telegraphy, 
arithmetic, bookkeeping, and Bible history 

"AAM. Pohl's diary, 26 August 1885. 
"College Catalogue (1885-1886), 7. 

"AAM. An open letter 'To Our Patrons." This was published in advertisements in 
1885, and was included in the 1884-1885 Catalogue (p. 5). Haid wrote the text himself 
on 15 July 1885. 

M AAM. Haid's handwritten text for the charter. [A1.0, No. 3. Writings] 
"Ibid. The charter was approved 1 April 1886. 

"AAM. Letter from Haid to Father Chrysostom (Saint Vincent), 11 April 1886. 
[Al .O, No. 3. Writings]. The Saint Benedict's Dramatic Association had been founded 
by Pohl in the spring term of 1884. 

"Cf. AAM. Recollections of students collected in 1928 by Bernard Haas, for the 
golden jubilee celebration of the College. In particular, note the Chronology compiled 
by Haas from these recollections. [B5, No. 1. Golden Jubilee — Testimonials]. Cf. also, 
"Saint Mary's College," Our Southern Home (July, 1887), 1. 

14 AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i. "College Chit-Chat," McAdenville Times (17 March 
1887), n.p. 

"The books still exist (AAM). On the same page on which he drafted the text for the 
invitation to his abbatial benediction, Haid noted the need to order three volumes in 
leather and cloth, of 300-350 pages each. The first was for the Debating Society (the 
only one to need a second volume during Haid's life); the second was for the Acta 
Capituli (for minutes of the monastic Chapter); the third was to be the Index Monachorum 
(the official catalogue of the abbey's monks). 


36 A AM . Letter from Jerome Schmitt to Haid, 12 October 1885. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Jerome Schmitt, OSB, RP] 
37 Cf., Fellner, Abbot, 636-637. 

"SVA, No. 5. Letter from Pohl to Wimmer, 25 October 1885. 
"Cf., SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 2 September 1885. 
^Wilmington, North Carolina, was the See of the Vicariate. 
4, Cf. SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 23 October 1885. 
42 Cf. SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 1 November 1885. 

"SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Amberger, 25 October 1885. 

"SVA. No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 19 November 1885. 

*AAM. The handwritten text with corrections is preserved in the abbey's archives. 
[Al.O, No. 3. Writings] 

4 The cathedral proper had been a victim of fire in 1861 . 

"The impropriety of his timing has already been mentioned. 

49 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 1 November 1885. 

50 AAM. Guest list in Haid's handwriting. [Al.O, No. 3. Writings] 

"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 19 November 1885. 

"AAM. Letter from Wimmer to Innocent Wolf (unlabeled transcript and 
translation), 13 November 1885. [B8, No. 2. Boniface Wimmer] 

"AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i, includes several newspaper articles. The best are 
'The Benediction of an Abbot," Charleston News and Courier, 27 November 1885. And 
"Abbot Leo Haid, O.S.B.", Pittsburgh Dispatch, 27 November 1885. 

S4 AAM. List "Presents to Right Reverend Abbot Leo, OSB", 11 November 1885. 
[Al.O, No. 1. Jubilees] 

"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 19 November 1885. 

"Pittsburgh Dispatch, 27 November 1885. 


"SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Amberger, 15 January 1886. 
"SVA. No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 2 September 1885. 
"SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 4 September 1885. 
61 BPA. Amendments approved in corporate meeting of 4 December 1885, signed by 
Haid, Moosmueller, and Reich ert. 
"SVA. Letter from Wimmer to Amberger, 15 January 1886. 
"SVA. Letter from Edward Cafferty to Wimmer, 26 February 1886. 

"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 18 July 1886. 
"SVA. Letter from Moosmueller to Wimmer, 27 July 1886. 
"SVA. Letter from Moosmueller to Wimmer, 3 August 1886. 
70 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 18 July 1886. 
7I SVA. Letter from Moosmueller to Wimmer, 5 August 1886. 
72 SVA. Letter from Moosmueller to Wimmer, 11 August 1886. 
"SVA. No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 14 August 1886. 
74 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 25 August 1886. 
"SVA. Letter from Moosmueller to Wimmer, 22 December 1886. 
76 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 23 July 1887. 
77 Cf. SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 30 August 1886. 
"SVA. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 23 July 1887. 
n Ibid. 

*°SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 29 July 1887. There was also a problem 
on Skidaway concerning the Sisters. They had been a constant annoyance to the new 
bishop and to Haid. In this visit, Haid also accomplished the closing of the Sisters' 
property and the final removal of the ladies' presence on the island. Only their debts 
remained. "As long as I am superior," Leo Haid resolved, "no Sister will be permitted 
to live on the Island." 

"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 25 August 1886. 

"Cope, 143. 

"Ibid., 132. 

M Cf. SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 6 September 1886; and Stowe, Early, 

"Cope, 124. 

"AAM. Haas' Chronology. 
"O'Connell, 482. 

"SVA, No. 5. Postscript on letter from Haid to Wimmer, 23 October 1885. 

"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 3 February 1887. 

'"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 31 December 1885. 

"SVA, No. 5. Postscript on letter from Haid to Wimmer, 23 October 1885. 

"SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 2 September 1885. 


M SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 18 September 1885. 
"SVA, No. 5. Letters from Haid to Wimmer, 2 September, and 4 September 1885. 
"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 10 January 1886. 
"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 January 1886. 
"Ibid., and letter from Haid to Wimmer, 10 January 1886. Also, AAM. Haas' 

"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 January 1886. 

i00 Ibid. 
m Ibid. 

,02 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 10 January 1886. 
,03 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 January 1886. 
,04 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 10 January 1886. 
,05 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 January 1886. 
"*AAM. O'Brien, "Doctor", 1-2. 

I07 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 29 January 1886. 
1M NDUA. Letter from Felix Hintemeyer to Ludwig-Missionsverein, 10 November 

,09 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 23 October 1885. "I am not over fond 
of farming . . ." 

"°SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 1 1 February 1886. 
"'SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 October 1885. 
" 2 SCSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Zilliox, 24 May 1886. 
IIJ AAM. Letter from Haid to Father Chrysostom, 11 April 1886. 
,,4 SCSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Zilliox, 24 May 1886. 
'"SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 1 October 1885. 
1,6 SCSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Zilliox, 24 May 1886. 
" 7 AAM. Conference notes by Haid, 1885. [Al.O, No. 1. Sermons and Retreats] 
"•AAM. Homily notes, 1885. [Al.O, No. 1. Sermons and Retreats] 
'"AAM. "Questions for Manifestation," dated "188-" [sic]. [Al.O, No. 1. Sermons 
and Retreats] 

l20 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 1 October 1885. 


121 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 18 July 1886. 

,22 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 October 1885. 

123 Cf. Sadliers' Catholic Directory, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888. The quantity of 
missions listed expands irregularly because of the month-long missionary circuit that 
could not always be staffed. For a description of the sequence and conditions of this 
circuit, cf. A AM. "Reminiscences of a Year's Work in North Carolina" by Walter 
Leahy [Ml 5, No. 1. Personal Papers]. Regarding Saint Benedict Church, Leo Haid 
wrote, "I must enlarge the [Maryhelp Abbey] Chapel at once: every Sunday some must 
stand and then the colored people go out for fear of offending the whites." (SV A, No. 
4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 6 September 1886) 

,24 AAM. Notes by Leo Haid regarding 17-19 December 1885. [Al.O, No. 3. 

125 SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Alexius Edelbrock, 21 July 1886. 
,2 *SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 25 August 1886. 
I27 SCSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Zilliox, 24 May 1886. 
12< NDUA. Letter from Hintemeyer to Ludwig-Missionsverein, 27 March 1911. 
129 AAM. Letter from Haid to Father Chrysostom, 1 1 April, 1886. 
130 SV A, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Prior Michael Hofmayer, OSB (Saint Vincent), 4 
March 1886. 

m SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 15 September 1885. 

I32 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 1 1 September 1885. 

13J SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 1 October 1885. 

,34 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 August 1885. 

,35 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 4 September 1885. 

,36 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 1 1 February 1886. 

,37 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 19 November 1885. 

13I SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 6 January 1887. 

l3 'Cf. SVA, No. 5. Letters from Haid to Wimmer, 13 August, 15 September, 1 
October 1885, etc. 

,40 SVA. Copy of letter from Wimmer to Bruanmueller, 12 April 1886. 

,4, SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 29 January 1886. 

142 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 26 January 1886. 

143 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 8 February 1886. 

144 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 6 September 1886. 

,45 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 29 January 1886. 

,4 «SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 6 September 1886. 

,47 Cf. SVA, No. 5. Letters from Haid to Wimmer, 18 September, 1 October 1885. 

14 *SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 26 December 1885. 

149 AAM. Deed, Saint Vincent to Maryhelp, 7 June 1886. [J3, No. 8. Land: Gaston 

150 SCSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Zilliox, 24 Mary 1886. 
,51 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Hofmayer, 4 March 1886. 

152 QuOted in Colman Barry, Worship and Work: Saint John Abbey and University, 

1856-1945 (Collegeville, Minnesota: North Central Publishing Company, 1956), 223. 
This was said at the abbatial election of Peter Engel, 28 November 1894. 

,53 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 31 December 1885. 

I54 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 1 October 1885. Cf. also Fellner's 
discussion of Haid's loneliness. Fellner, Abbot, 636. 

'"SVA. Some sample closings: 

"obediently" (23 October 1885) 

"your most humble servant" (25 October 1885) 

"yours" (13 August 1885) 

"with sincere affection" (25 August 1885) 

"your son" (2 September 1885) 

"rejoicing in the hope of seeing you soon" (19 November 1885) 

"with deep affection" (31 December 1885) 

[variations on] "sincerely" (March 1886) 

"Fraternally yours" (14 August 1886; 30 August 1886) 

N.B., as Haid grows in confidence he abandons images of subservience ("obediently," 
"your son") for equality ("fraternally"). 

,56 SCSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Zilliox, 6 November 1886. 

"Tor a discussion of the crescat story, its validity, and its aftermath, cf. Paschal 
Baumstein, "Variations in Heraldic Insignia at Maryhelp Abbey," The American 
Benedictine Review (March, 1983), 62-73. Cf. especially, n.4. 

,58 SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 25 August 1885. 

159 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 January 1886. 

it0 IbM 

,61 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 11 February 1886. 

'"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 26 February 1886. 

'"Much of what follows is adapted from the history of the College Building, 
published in 1982: Paschal Baumstein, 'The First Sign of Permanence," Crescat 
(Summer, 1982), 1-6. 

1M When Haid finally built this wing, it was not made to join the three storey 
monastery, after all. 

165 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 11 February 1886. 

166 AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 17 February 1886. 

167 AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i. "Another Mark of Southern Progress," 
McAdenville Times, May 1886, 1. 
168 Psalm 126. 

,6, AAM. Letter from John J. Cox (former student) to Bernard Haas, 30 April 1926. 
[B5, No. 1. Golden Jubilee— Testimonials] 

,70 SCSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Zilliox, 24 May 1886. 

I7I SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 21 July 1886. 

,72 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 14 August 1886. 

,73 SCSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Zilliox, 25 December 1886. 

™Ibid. And SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 6 January 1887. 

I75 AAM. Letter from John J. Cox to Bernard Haas, 30 April 1926. 

l76 Cf. AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i. "Enlargement of the College Chapel," 
McAdenville Times (February 1887). 

,77 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 September 1887. 

17, SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 17 October 1887. 

I7 »SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 27 January 1887. 

IW SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 3 February 1887. 

'•'SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 7 February 1887. 

'"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 January 1886. 

'"SVA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 October 1885. 

IM AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i. "College Chit-Chat," McAdenville Times, article 
dated 17 March 1887. 

" 5 SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 20 May 1887. 
lg6 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 13 September 1887. 


1M AAM. Haas' Chronology. 

1,9 AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i. "A Southern Benedictine Abbey," New York Sun, 

1 March 1886. 

"°AAM. Reminiscences collected by Dom Paul Milde, OSB, from the original 
brothers at Maryhelp, 1927. [B5, No. 1. Reminiscences (Father Paul)] 

"There are many available sources of this story. These are a few: AAM. Letter 
from Sebastian Doris to Robert Brennan, undated (1961). [M137, No. 1. 
Correspondence] And BPA. "Belmont Abbey Aids Church in South," by John B. Ebel, 

2 October 1953. And Doris, Belmont, 9, n.4. 

,92 Ebel, ibid., thinks it was for Belmont England. And in discussions with members of 
a local historical society in Gaston County, I found the Belmont Abbey of England 
story to be the only one commonly considered reputable. 

'"AAM. Letter from Miriam Rabb, of the North Carolina Department of 
Conservation and Development, to Robert Brennan, 20 November 1961. [M137, No. 
1 . Correspondence] 

,94 AAM. Letter from Bird S. Coler to Haid, 23 December 1912. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Correspondence, 1911-1915] 

195 AAM. Copy of letter from Haid to Bird S. Coler /Perry Belmont, 25 December 
1912. [Bl, No. 1. Belmont Township] 

,96 Perry Belmont, An American Democrat: The Recollections of Perry Belmont (New York: 
Columbia University Press, 1940). 

l9 Tbid., 276. 

198 Cf., New York Times (7 June 1928), 15. 

'"Letter from Vincent Taylor to Perry Belmont, 1 June 1928. [Quoted in Belmont, 

200 AAM. Letter from Agnes Regan to Vincent Taylor, 21 June 1928. [A2.0, No. 1 . 
Belmont, Perry] 

201 AAM. Letter from Thomas Oestreich (secretary to the abbot) to Agnes Regan, 1 
July 1928. [A2.0, No. 1 . Belmont, Perry] As a typical example of the various confused 
versions of the story that appeared subsequently, see "Plant and Facility Report: 
Sacred Heart College" (March, 1970), a disquisition submitted to the Southern 
Association of Colleges and Schools: 

Belmont was first incorporated in 1895 and again in 1945. Belmont was 
originally called Garibaldi but changed to Belmont when the Southern 
Railroad objected to the name. The name was changed to honor Augustus 
P. Belmont of New York City. At the time, Mr. Belmont was a close friend 
of Bishop Leo Haid, administrator of Saint Mary's College Cater Belmont 
Abbey College). It is not clear as to whether Bishop Haid had sufficient 
influence to effect the choice of a name but history indicates that Bishop 
Haid was by no means a "back seater" in Garibaldi Town. 

202 AAB. Letter from Mark Gross to Gibbons, 10 November 1886. 
203 AAB. Letter from Mark Gross to Gibbons, 16 June 1887. 
204 Ibid 

205 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 18 July 1886; and AAM. Haas' 

20 *New York5««, 7 March 1886. 

^SCSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Zilliox, 24 May 1886. 
201 A AM. Letter from Haid to Father Chrysostom, 1 1 April 1886. 
^VA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Hofmayer, 4 March 1886. 
2,0 SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 21 July 1886. 

Chaptep IV: 

a Secon6 Jurisdiction 

'D.RAH.A. James Gibbons, Diary (Acta Episcopalia), entry for 29 August 1872. "I 
retain jurisdiction over the Vicariate of N[orth] Carolina, till the H[oly] F[ather] is 
pleased, at the suggestion of the B[isho]ps of this Province, to appoint a B[isho]p for 
N[orth] Qarolina]." 

2 AAB. Letter from John Cardinal Simeoni to Gibbons, 11 June 1881. 

3 AAB. Tema for Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina, 1879. See also Ellis, Life, I, 
186. Janssens was later named an archbishop. 

4 AAB. Letter from Mark Gross to Gibons, 16 September 1879. 

'Sadliers' Catholic Directory, 1880. "Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina." 

6 AAB. Letter from Mark Gross to Gibbons, 20 September 1880. 

7 AAB. Letter from Simeoni to Mark Gross, 10 October 1880. 

•AAB. Letter from Mark Gross to Gibbons, 26 October 1880. 

'AAM. Letter from Northrop to "Reverend Benedictine Fathers, Saint Mary's 
College," 22 September 1881. [AO.O, No. 1. Northrop, Henry, Bishop] 

,0 AAM. Letter from Edwin Pierron to Haid, 16 July 1885. [Al.O, No. 1. Edwin 
Pierron, OSB, RP] 

"AAB. Gibbons' diary, entries for 25 and 29 May. It is of interest that the next entry 
in his diary, 7 June, records his elevation to the cardinalate. 

I2 AAB. Letter from Mark Gross to Gibbons, 16 June 1887. 

15 AAB. Letter from De Propaganda Fide to Gibbons, 23 July 1886. 

14 AAB. Letter from Gibbons to De Propaganda Fide, 31 August 1886. 

"SCSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Zilliox, 25 December 1886. Becker was the 
bishop who actually received the prestigious appointment to Savannah. 

"Cf. Ellis' discussion, Life, II, 440^41 . 

,7 Cf. SBAA. Letter from Wimmer to Innocent Wolf, 2 February 1887. The letter 
from Rome to Wimmer (SVA) is dated 7 January 1887. 


"SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 3 February 1887. 

"SVA, No. 14. Letter from Mark Gross to Wimmer, misdated 6 February 1888 
(should be "1887"). 

20 SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 20 May 1887. 

21 SVA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Wimmer, 17 October 1887. 

22 Cf. discussion in Fellner, Abbot, 635. 

"AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 7 April 1888. 

"SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 7 April 1888. 

25 Cf. AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 12 April 1888. 

"SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 17 April 1888. 

"SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 30 April 1888. 

"SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 15 May 1888. 

"SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 1 June 1888. 

30 The formal invitations are preserved: AAM. [B7, No. 1. Leo Haid— Episcopal 
Ordination], 5 June 1888. 

51 AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 17 April 1888. 

"AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 18 June 1888. 

"AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 17 April 1888. 

54 A AM. The Publicity Files at AAM contain several items regarding the ceremony. 
The best are: "Consecrated Bishop: Abbot Leo Haid Elevated," Baltimore Sun (2 July 
1888). And "Consecrated Bishop," Catholic Mirror (7 July 1888). 

"Ibid., Sun. 

*AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i. "Interesting Services," The Daily Messenger 
(Wilmington), 15 July 1888. And "Cardinal Gibbons Arrives," The Daily Messenger 
(Wilmington), 13 July 1888. And "A Prominent Visitor," Charlotte News and Observer, 
(?) July 1888. And "Bishop Haid Installed," Wilmington Morning Star, 17 July 1888. 
And "Our Eminent Visitor," The Daily Messenger (Wilmington), 14 July 1888. And 
'Tersonal," The Daily Messenger (Wilmington), 15 July 1888. 

"Cf. AAM. "Reminiscences of a Year's Work in North Carolina," by Walter Leahy. 
[Ml 5, No. 1. Personal Papers] 

"SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 5 January 1888. 

"AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i, 62. Letter to the Editor from Leo Haid, Gastonia 
Gazette (24 May 1888). 

"AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i, 63. "Bishop Haid's Letter", Gastonia Gazette (24 
May 1888). 

4! SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 9 November 1888. 
42 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 26 October 1888. 
43 SJA. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 10 December 1888. 

"Ignatius Remke, Historical Sketch of Saint Mary 's Church, Richmond, Virginia, 1843 1935 
[cf. listing in bibliography, infra], 17. 
45 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 11 September 1888. 
**SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 3 November 1888. 
47 SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 9 November 1888. 
48 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 26 October 1888. 
49 SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 22 August 1888. 
50 SJA. Letter from Haid to Bernard Locnikar, 10 January 1891. 
"SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 10 December 1888. 
"SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 8 October 1909. 
"SJA. Letter from Haid to Peter Engel, 6 April 1909. 
54 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 3 August 1888. 


"SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 1894 (page one, with precise date, is 

"A AM. Informal sacramental register kept by Haid. 
"BSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Katharine Drexel, 30 May 1900. 
"SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 15 October 1894. 
"Cf. AAM. Letter from Bernard Smith to Haid, 1 1 June 1892. [Al .O, No. 1 . Smith, 

*°SJA. Letter from Haid to Engel, 22 April 1920. 

61 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Father Adalbert (Prior of Sant' Anselmo), 17 
August 1893. 

"ACFA. Letter from Vincent Huber to Haid, 15 June 1892. 

"SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Father Adalbert, 17 August 1893. 


"SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 30 June 1896. 
"SVA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 11 September 1888. 
67 Cf. discussion in Fellner, Abbot, 697-698. 
"SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 4 October 1888. 
6 »SVA, No. 14. Letter from Haid to Bernard Smith, 6 June 1891. 
70 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Father Adalbert, 3 March 1891. 
7, AAB. Letter from Simeoni to Gibbons, 20 December 1890. 
72 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 27 December 1890. 
73 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 23 April 1891. 
74 AAB. Letter from Gibbons to Simeoni, 8 January 1891. 
75 SVA, No. 14. Letter from Haid to Bernard Smith, 6 June 1891. 

"AAM. Letter from Gibbons to Haid, 12 September 1892. [Al.O, No. 1 . Gibbons, 
James Cardinal] 

7, Decree of De Propaganda Fide, 4 December 1891. [Both AAM and D.RAH.A. 
have copies.] 

79 SVA, No. 10. Letter from Haid to Leander Schnerr, 22 December 1893. 

,0 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 6 June 1889. 

"By the time the fifty years had expired part of the territory had already been 
granted in perpetuity; the rest was ceded to the Diocese of Raleigh, which had been 
created in 1924. Saint Peter Church in Charlotte was granted in perpetuity, however, 
on 9 June 1942. Vincent Waters, who later served Raleigh as bishop, and whose love 
for the Abbey was noteworthy for its extraordinary moderation, succeeded in 1969, in 
securing Belmont's withdrawal from the Charlotte church [cf. D.RAH.A. Letter from 
Waters to Walter Coggin, 10 November 1969]. 

"AAM. Letter from Haid to Drexel, 24 June 1893. [Al.O, No. 1. Correspondence 

"SJA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Locnikar, 24 July 1890. 

"The Collegian (May, 1894), 162-163. Also 'The Grotto at Belmont Abbey," Bulletin 
(February, 1939). 

"AAM. Milde, "Reminiscences." 

"AAM. Publicity Files, ii, 1. "A Splendid Function," Catholic Mirror (May, 1891), 8. 
,7 AAM. Program for dedication of the Lourdes Grotto at Belmont [uncatalogued 

"AAM. "Splendid Function." 

"AAM. Program. 

"AAM. "Splendid Function." 

n iun 

92 A AM. Program. 

93 A AM. Publicity Files, i, 107. "Saint Mary's College," Mount Holly News (c. 1 June 

M Cf. Oetgen's comment, American, 321-322, n.81. 

95 Mark Gross had tried in 1887 to get the Benedictine Sisters of Richmond to 
establish a convent in Charlotte. Cf. AAB. Letter from Mark Gross to Gibbons, 16 
June 1887. 

^Records at the Sisters' Motherhouse are imprecise on this point. I am following 
here the learned assumption of Mr. Hite, letter of 29 March 1983. 
97 AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 8 April 1892. 

"There is, in the oral tradition of the Abbey, a story so commonly reported that it 
must be mentioned. According to this version, the Abbot decided he would take 
Mercies over Benedictines because he wanted "Sisters who will work" I have been 
unable either to substantiate or disprove this peri cope. In terms of the inference the 
story projects against the Benedictine Sisters, I must note, however, that the Bishop 
seems to have greatly loved the Virgins of the Order, and he did choose them to share 
soon afterwards in his foundation in northern Virginia, where they proved far more 
successful and responsible than did their male counterparts. 

"AAM. Speech by Anselm Biggs, 24 September 1969. 

100 D.RAH.A., No. 3. Annals of the Sisters of Mercy, 1841-1892, by Sister Mary 
Charles Curtin, R.S.M., 62-63. 
l0i Ibid., 63. 
m Md 

l03 Ibid., 64-65. 

104 D.RAH.A., No. 2. Annals of the Sisters of Mercy, 1892-1910, by Sister Agatha 
Ryan, 71. 
xn Ibid. t 72. 

106 AAM. Publicity Files, i, 133. 'The Dedication Exercises." Charlotte Observer (9 
September 1892). 

,07 D.RAH.A., No. 2. Ryan Annals, 72. 
m Ibid., 73. 

109 Most notable in this period was the new Saint Peter Church in Charlotte. Father 
Francis Meyer raised the money through Katharine Drexel and other sources, and 
apparently ran such an efficient operation that the cornerstone was laid 3 September 
1893, and the church was blessed on Christmas Eve that same year. 

"°AAM. Publicity Files, i, 151. 'The New Catholic Church," Charlotte Observer (27 
December 1893). 

'"Sources differ for many of the dates, and there sometimes is confusion regarding 
which wing was under construction at any particular time. This list is presented with 
confidence, if not certainty, in its accuracy. It was compiled through elaborate checks 
between correspondence and dated photographs. I usually trusted newspapers and 
periodicals only if they said construction was at that time in progress, or if they were 
covering a groundbreaking, cornerstone blessing, or opening ceremony; they were 
never trusted when they merely recited dates on which something had or would 
happen. There are some financial records which helped in the dating, too, but since 
brickmaking in particular was constant, and the Bishop would buy supplies 
comfortably in advance or at the last moment, depending on when money appeared, 
these were of little help on the whole. Whenever possible, since interest here is in 
construction more than use, the date given is the year in which construction began. 

II2 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 27 December 1890. 

m SJA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Locnikar, 30 December 1890. 

u *Ibid. 

" 5 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 5 February 1891. 
1,6 SJA. Letter from Haid to Locnikar, 10 January 1891. 

111 Ibid. 

l1t Ibid. 

'"SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 5 February 1891. 
,20 SJA. Letter from Haid to Locnikar, 10 January 1891. 
,2I SJA. Letter from Haid to Locnikar, 1 February 1892. 
,22 AAM. Contract of 9 February 1892. [Al.O, No. 1. Church— Construction] 
,23 AAM. Publicity Files, i, 121 . "The Feast of Saint Benedict," Charlotte Observer (22 
March 1892). 

124 AAM. Publicity Files, i, 122. "Items from Saint Mary's College," Mount Holly News 
(1 April 1892). 

125 AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 8 April 1892. At best this is a half-hearted 
invitation to the Cardinal. It appears, at least, that Haid was "resigned" to taking 
prominence in the ceremonies even before His Eminence was advised of the event. 

12 *By the 1890's dramatics had replaced forensics as the most prestigious campus 
activity for students. In the 1930's, athletics moved into prominence, but because of 
the personal interest of the Abbot, the precedence of the theatre stood unquestioned 
prior to Leo Haid's death. 

127 When there were two theatre presentations, one was usually executed by the 
young ladies at Sacred Heart Academy. Father Felix would sometimes write their 

12 *AAM. Publicity Files, i, 127. 'The New Abbey Church," Charlotte Chronicle (5 May 

iK Ibid. 
>i0 Ibid. 

131 AAM. Publicity Files, i, 130. "New Abbey Church," The Church News [Washington], 
(14 May 1892). 

132 AAM. Publicity Files, i, 129. "At Saint Mary's," Charlotte News (4 May 1892). 
I33 AAM. Church News. 

,34 AAM. "Abbey," Charlotte Chronicle, 5 May 1892. This article includes the text of 
the Bishop's speech. 

,35 AAM. The entire document is reprinted ibid. 

134 A AM. Publicity Files, i, 128. "Mary Help Abbey," Raleigh News and Observer (7 May 

137 AAM. Publicity Files, i, 128. "Festivities at Saint Mary's College," Charlotte News 
(5 May 1892). 

,3I AAM. Publicity Files, i, 128. "A Strange Visitor in Paw Creek-The Negroes 
Terribly Alarmed." [Unlabeled newspaper clipping] 

139 BSA, No. 1. Copy of Letter from Haid to Drexel, 24 June 1893. 

140 D.RAH.A. Document between Haid and Drexel, 1 July 1893. Cover letter is 
dated 28 December 1893. 

14, Cf. discussion in Consuela Marie Duffy, Katharine Drexel: A Biography (Corn wells 
Heights, Pennsylvania: Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, [1965] 1972), 73-75. 

,42 Cf., for example, BSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Drexel, 8 May 1900; with 
notation by Drexel, dated 16 May 1900. 

143 AAM and BSA. Haid and Drexel correspondence for 1914. 

"BSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Drexel, 24 June 1893. 

145 AAM. Letter from Drexel to Haid, undated (1893). [Al .O, No. 1 . Correspondence 
to Leo Haid from Katharine Drexel] 

'"D.RAH.A. Document between Haid and Drexel, 1 July 1893. 

,47 AAM. Letter from Drexel to Haid, 16 October 1893. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Correspondence to Leo Haid from Katharine Drexel] 

14 *BSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Drexel, 20 October 1893. In 1904, Mother 
Drexel visited Belmont. She attended what she admitted to be a magnificent Cathedral 
Vespers, matched only by the loveliness of the church itself. She found there a row of 
pews running the entire length of the church, front to back, reserved for blacks. 
Unfortunately the entire row of pews was unpopulated. Abbot Leo was still trying to 
explain the situation in letters as late as 1910. Cf. for example, letter from Haid to 
Drexel, 18 July 1910 [BSA, No. 1]. 

U9 BSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Drexel, 18 December 1893. The vestment the 
Bishop wore for that first Mass was used again for his corpse in 1924. Cf. Doris, 
Belmont, p. 36, n. 19. 

,50 Leo Haid tried to get Katharine Drexel to provide new Stations, but failed. AAM. 
Letter from Haid to Drexel, 20 January 1894. [Al .O, No. 1 . Correspondence from Leo 
Haid to Katharine Drexel] 

"The church is still standing, and much of what follows is taken from critical 
evaluation and observation, as well as comparison with period photographs and 
descriptions. There are four other principal sources used in dealing with the church 
here: AAM. Publicity Files, ii, 3-4. "An Historic Event," Catholic Mirror (21 April 1894), 
1; also Catholic News. AAM. Donna Alyn Hollar, "Maryhelp Abbey Cathedral: 
Analysis and Interpretation of Gothic Revival," unpublished typescript (University of 
North Carolina at Charlotte, 19 April 1982) [B5, No. 1 . "Maryhelp Abbey Cathedral" 
(architectural study)]. And Paschal Baumstein, "Chapel, Church, Cathedral," Crescat 
(Summer, 1983), pp. 1-8. 

l,2 Ibid., Mirror. 
xi Hbid. 

'"Regarding the windows, cf. Mirror, Hollar, and Baumstein [no. 151, supra]. Also 
AAM. Bulletin, (January, 1939). [B6, No. 1. Cathedral Windows]. 

"The records of the fair document Mayer's awards, of course, but since the prize 
was the manufacturer's rather than the owner's, no record acknowledges which of the 
Belmont windows were on exhibit in Chicago. The oral tradition claims the windows 
of Saints Patrick and Placid were the medalists; this cannot be proven on the basis of 
known records, though on the basis of quality, artistry, and workmanship these would 
have been appropriate selections from the Belmont windows for the exhibit. 

"*Cf. AAM. Letter from Francis Mayer to Haid, 30 December 1903. [Al .O, No. 1 . 
Mayer and Company] N.B., This is Francis Mayer of Munich, not Francis Meyer the 
monk-priest of Belmont. 

157 AAM. "Historic Event." 

"*Cf. Letter from Michael Irwin to Sebastian Doris, 8 March 1928, quoted in Doris, 
Belmont, 21-22. 

"'William O'Brien, "Early," 3. 
,<0 AAM. "Historic Event." 

"'P.G. Marion and William F. O'Brien were the future priests. 

"The two future monks of Maryhelp would be known as Father Eugene Egan, 
O.S.B., and Father James Buchholz, O.S.B. 

"The future abbot was George Taylor, who would take the name "Vincent" in 
religion. Taylor was in virtually all the plays presented during his school days. His two 
sisters, Mary and Lucie, who were enrolled at Sacred Heart Academy, matched his 
level of devotion to dramatics. Mary in particular participated in dramatics and 

IM Ganss was a priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg. Cf. Oetgen, American, 225. 

'"This cast included the two sisters of the future abbot, Vincent Taylor. Mary gave 
the introductory address and played Mina, Queen of West Saxony; Lucie portrayed 
Princess Ethelinda. 

,66 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 1 1 July 1888. 

167 SJA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Locnikar, 1 1 January 1891. 

'"Brother Meinrad, an Austrian native born in 1872, went to Saint Leo's in the fall 
of 1893. He made his profession at the point of death on 13 July 1894, but lingered 
then until the next month, dying on 19 August. 

16, F rater Lawrence Wiegand was a parishoner at Saint Mary's in Richmond before 
entering the Order. He was born in 1873, and entered the monastery in 1892. He 
accompanied Buechling to Florida in 1893, but later was permitted to spend his 
declining months with his family in Virginia. He died in Richmond on 12 March 1897. 

170 Metzger was born of Protestant parents in Saxony in 1871. After his mother's 
death in 1889, he went to Baltimore where he was adopted by August Brock and 
converted to Catholicism. He entered Belmont as a candidate for the brotherhood. A 
subsequent decision in favor of priesthood required that he enter a different monastery 
where he could become a clerical novice. Bishop Haid sent him to Florida. While 
supervising a school outing and picnic there in December 1891, an accidental 
discharge of a rifle resulted in the Frater's untimely death. 

,7, SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 10 October i888. And AAM. 
Chapter Minutes, 10 October 1888. 

,72 SVA. Letter from Gerard Pilz to Wimmer, 12 April 1886. 

,73 Cf. Fellner, Abbot, 691. 

,74 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 5 November 1889. 

,7 'SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 9 November 1889. 

,76 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 17 November 1889. 

,77 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 2 December 1889. 

17r The exact course of Judge Dunne's life is shaded in obscurity — or at least 
concealed by the burden of his successive adventures. I have assembled his story 
primarily from: "Obituary: Judge E.F. O'Dunne [sic]," Catholic Mirror (Baltimore: 
October 1904). And Edmund Francis Dunne, 'The Sicily of America: The Catholic 
Colony of San Antonio, Florida — Where They Grow the Genuine Sicily Lemon," (San 
Antonio, Florida: [1883] 1885). And H.H. Walker Lewis, "Eugene O'Dunne," The 
Lawyers' Roundtable of Baltimore and Its Charter Members (Baltimore: Paul M. Harrod 
Company, 1978), 50-66 [originally printed in the American Bar Association Journal as 
"Baltimore's Judicial Bombshell," in July, 1970]. 

l79 Lewis, ibid., 52. 



l%1 Ibid. 

" 3 SVA. Letter from John Moore to Wimmer, 1 February 1886. 

,M SLA. Diary of Joseph Kast (sacristan of Saint Anthony Church, Florida). 

'"Eugene later dropped the "Viscount," but altered his patronym to "O'Dunne," by 
which name he too became a judge and enjoyed a long career in Baltimore, 
noteworthy for its eccentricity and flamboyance. Cf. Lewis, supra. 

'"Brian was later well known in New Mexico as a journalist. The two sisters entered 
the convent. 

1,7 AAM. Document, between Haid and Judge Edmund F. Dunne, 18 October 1888. 
[S5, No. 1. Dunne, E.F.] See also AAM. Chapter Minutes, 10 October 1888. 

1M AAM. Disquisition entitled "Judge Edmund F. Dunne, Counted by Pope Pius IX: 
His Relations with the Benedictines of Saint Leo, Florida," with the notation: "an 
interesting experience: interesting but expensive." [S5, No. 1. Dunne, E.F.] 

,M AAM. Letter from Edmund F. Dunne to Charles Mohr, 10 January 1893. 
(FFl.O, No. 1. Dunne, E.F.] 

"°AAM. Disquisition. See also ibid. See also AAM. Chapter Minutes, 21 January, 16 
February, and 29 March 1893. 

"'AAM. Disquisition. 

192 Judge Dunne died in Baltimore in 1904. 

" 3 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 23 April 1891. 

"*SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 2 December 1889. 

,95 SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 6 April 1890. 

196 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Father Adalbert, 3 March 1891. 

197 AAM. Letter from Charles Mohr to Haid, 2 January 1894. [Al .O, No. 1 . Florida 

"•SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 28 June 1894. 
,99 AAM. Letter from Moore to Haid, 22 May 1894. [Al.O, No. 2 Florida 

^AAM. Petition from founders of Saint Leo Priory to Haid. [Al .O, No. 3. Florida 
^'The document is preserved ACFA. 
^SLA. Letter from Haid to Mohr, 4 October 1894. 
M3 SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 15 October 1894. 

ChapteR V: 

the linton Legacy 

'The most readily accessible description of the advent of the Lintons is: Helen 

Johnston, The Fruit of His Works: A History of the Benedictint Sisters of Saint Benedict 's 
Convent, Bristow, Prince William County, Virginia (Bristow: Linton Hall Press, 1954), 37 ff. 

'Ibid., 37. 

Hbid., 38. 

"Ibid., 39. 

'Ibid., 3940. 

•Ibid., 40. 


'Ibid., 3841. 
•Ibid., 47. 
,0 Ibid 

"AAM. Letter from M.J. Colbert to Haid, 4 June 1894. [Al .O, No. 1 . Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 
"Johnston, 47. 

"AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 23 March 1903. [Al .O, No. 1 . Julius Pohl, OSB, 
RP — Correspondence] And Letter from Thomas H. Lion to Pohl, 4 August 1917. 
[Al .O, No. 1 . Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

14 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 15 July 1917. [Al.O, No. 1. Bristow Mineral 

"AAM. Letter from Lion to Pohl, 4 August 1917. And Will of Anne Cecilia 
Phillips, 2 May 1917. [Al.O, No. 1. Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

,6 AAM. Deed, from Anne C. Phillips to Martin F. Morris, Emily V. Mason, Imogen 
B. Lyons, and Nannie Lomax Green, for 1736 acres in Prince William County, 
Virginia, 14 January 1893. [Al.O, No. 1. Bristow Mineral Rights] 

l7 AAM. Letter from Colbert to Sister Mary Baptista Linton, V.H.M., 13 January 
1893. [Al.O, No. 1. Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 


"AAM. Letter from Linton to Haid, 29 March 1893. [Al.O, No. 1. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

"AAM. Letter from Colbert to Linton, 13 January 1893. 
20 AAM. Letter from Linton to Haid, 29 March 1893. 

21 AAM. Deed from Phillips to Trustees (Morris, Mason, Lyons, and Green), 14 
January 1893. 

"AAM. Letter from Linton to Haid, 29 March 1893. [Al.O, No. 1. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 
"Johnston, 41 AS. 

24 AAM. Chapter Minutes, 29 March 1893. 

"AAM. Letter from M. Cardinal Ledochowski to Haid, 20 June 1893. [Al .O, No. 1 . 
Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

"AAM. Charter of the Benedictine Society of Linton Place, Prince William County, 
Virginia, 1 August 1893. [Al.O, No. 1. Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

27 Cf. AAM. Letter from Colbert to Haid, 4 June 1894. 

"The convent later became Saint Benedict Motherhouse. 

"Cf. Johnston, 48-49. 

10 A AM . Copy of letter from Haid to Pohl, 6 September 1893. [Al .O, No. 1 . Bristow 
Monks — Correspondence] 

"AAM. Copy of letter from Haid to Pohl, 13 September 1893. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Bristow Monks — Correspondence] 

"AAM. Cf. copies of letters from Haid to Pohl, of 30 April 1894, 7 May 1894, 9 
June 1894. [Al.O, No. 1. Bristow Monks— Correspondence] 

"AAM. Copy of letter from Haid to Pohl, 30 April 1894. 

"AAM. Copy of letter from Haid to Pohl, 9 June 1894. 

"AAM. Letter from Colbert to Haid, 4 June 1894. 

"AAM. Chapter Minutes, 6 June 1894. 

"AAM. Copy of letter from Haid to Pohl, 20 December 1896. [Al .O, No. 1 . Bristow 
Monks — Correspondence] 

"AAM. Chapter Minutes, 6 June 1896. 

"AAM. Indenture between the Trustees (Morris, Mason, Lyons, and Green) and 
the Benedictine Society of Linton's Ford. [Al.O, No. 1. Bristow Mineral Rights] 
40 Johnston, 51-52. 

41 Ibid., 11-15. 

42 AAB. Gibbons' diary, entry for 13 November 1875. 
43 Johnston, 55. 

"SBMA. Sisters' Chapter Minutes, 4 October 1893. 
"Johnston, 53. 
"Ibid., 57. 
"Ibid., 95. 
"Ibid., 62. 

4, SBMA. Day Book kept by Father Julius, entry for 18 May 1897. 

"Ibid., entry for 22 August 1897. 

"Ibid., 23 September 1895. 

"Ibid., 5 July 1895. 

"Ibid., 20 April 1899. 

'"Johnston, 67. 

"SBMA. Day Book, 21 November 1901. 
"Ibid., 21 August 1900. 
"Ibid., 22 September 1900. 


"AAM. Cf. in particular, letters from Father Edward [no further identification is in 
evidence] to Pohl, of 2 March 1897 and of 1 1 March 1897. [Al .O, No. 1 . Julius Pohl, 
OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

"Johnston, 95-96. 

"Cf., for example, AAM. Letter from Zilliox to Pohl, 19 October 1879. [Al.O, No. 
1 . Julius Pohl, OSB, RP-Correspondence] 
6, SBMA. Day Book, 7 August 1898. 
"Johnston, 74. 

"AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 8 August 1898. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius Pohl, OSB, 
RP — Correspondence] 
"SBMA. Day Book, 7 August 1898. 
"Ibid., 9 August 1898. And Johnston, 74. 

"AAM, Letter from Pohl to Haid, 21 August 1898. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Bri stow— Diocesan Issues] And Johnston, 74. 
"AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 8 August 1898. 
"Johnston, 74. 

"SBMA. Day Book, 8 August 1898. 
10 Ibid., 9 August 1898. 
71 Johnston, 75. 

"AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 21 August 1898. 

"AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 26 August 1898. [Al .O, No. 1 ., Julius Pohl, OSB, 
RP— Correspondence] 
74 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 21 August 1898. 
"SBMA. Day Book, 15 August 1898. 
"Ibid., 16 August 1898. 
77 /^., 18 August 1898. 
n Ibid., 5 September 1898. 
"Ibid., 6 September 1898. 
"Ibid., 11 September 1898. 

"AAM. Letter from Major J.K. Weaver to Pohl, 14 September 1898. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Julius Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence] 
"Cf. SBMA. Day Book, 3 September 1898. The photograph is preserved in AAM. 
"AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 21 August 1898. 
"Johnston, 49. 

"AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid and capitulars, undated (1914). [Al.O, No. 1. 
Bristow— Diocesan Issues] 

"SBMA. Day Book, 22 February 1895. 
"Ibid., 13 March 1895. 
u Ibid., 16 April 1895. 
"Ibid., 5 May 1895. 

*AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 20 July 1898. 

"SBMA. Day Book, 3 June 1898. 

n lbid., 8 April 1899. 

n Ibid„ 10 May 1899. 

"Ibid., 11 May 1899. 

n Ibid., 28 October 1899. 

"Ibid., 16 July 1900. 

91 Ibid., 7 September 1900. 

n Ibid., 30 September 1900. 

"Ci, for example, AAM. Letters from Pohl to Haid of 20 July 1898 [Al .O, No. 1 . 
Julius Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence]; 12 July 1917 [Al .O, No. 3. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia]. See also SBMA. Day Book, 14 September 1900. 

100 SBMA. Ledger Saint Jospeh Institute. [This ledger contains a complete set of 
financial statements covering Belmont Abbey's years in Bristow. Most of the reports 
from Pohl's years also include the statistics regarding personnel, students, livestock, 

102 AAM. Notation by Haid on letter from Pohl to Haid, 12 December 1897. [Al.O, 
No. 1. Julius Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence] 
,03 SBMA. Ledger. 
,04 SBMA. Day Book, 3 June 1898. 

105 Cf. AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 4 April 1914. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Bristow — Diocesan Issues] 

l06 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid and capitulars, undated (1914). 

107 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 10 June 1898. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius Pohl, OSB, 
R P— Correspondence] 

,M AAM. Letter from J.T. OTarreH to Felix Hintemeyer, 7 May 1914. [Al .O, No. 1 . 
Bristow— Diocesan Issues] 

1W AAM. Resolutions of the Diocesan Consultors of Richmond, as communicated to 
Bishop O'Connell (authenticated copy sent to Haid), following on meeting of 9 April 
1914 [the document itself is undated (1914)], signed by Thomas E. Waters, secretary. 

"°AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 4 April 1914. 

iU Ibid. 

II2 Cf. division of Benedictine personnel in Virginia listed in Joseph Magri, The 

Catholic Church in the City and Diocese of Richmond (Richmond: Whittet and Shepperson), 
1906, 124. 

" 3 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 4 April 1914. 

" 4 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid and capitulars, undated (1914). 

,,5 SBMA. Day Book, 4 July 1895. 

116 Cf., for example, AAM. Letter from Sister Mary Zita Zimmerman, OSB, to Haid, 
10 October 1900. [Al.O, No. 1. Bristow Sisters] 
,,7 SBMA. Day Book, 3 October 1896. Also cf. Johnston, 64. 
"'SBMA. Ibid., 2 July 1897. 
"'Ibid., 26 May 1897. 
]20 Ibid., 27 May 1897. 
^Ibid.,2 July 1897. 

,22 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 6 December 1900. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Bristow — Diocesan Issues] 

,23 AAM. Indult from Propaganda Fide to Maryhelp Abbey, 20 June 1893. [Al.O, 
No. 1. Bristow — Diocesan Issues] 

l24 AAM. Letter from Augustine Van de Vyver to Pohl, (7) March 1910. [Al .O, No. 
13. Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

,23 AAM. Letter from Van de Vyver to Haid, 9 March 1910. [Al.O, No. 13. Saint 
Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

l2 *AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 1 September 1910. [Al.O, No. 14. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

,27 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 9 March 1910. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius Pohl, OSB, 
R P — Correspondence] 

,M Cf. AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 14 March 1910. [Al .O, No. 1. Julius Pohl, 
OSB, RP— Correspondence] 


,M AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 1 September 1910. 

130 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 28 November 1917. [Al.O, No. 4. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

131 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 14 March 1910. [Al .O, No. 1 . Julius Pohl, OSB, 
RP — Correspondence] 

,32 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 8 July 1917. [Al.O, No. 3. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

,33 AAM. Chapter Minutes, 15 June 1917. 

134 AAM. Letter from Pohl, Raphael Arthur, and John Smith to Haid and capitulars, 
12 June 1917, appended to Chapter Minutes, ibid. 
,35 AAM. Chapter Minutes, 15 June 1917. 

lH Ibid. 

I37 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Felix Hintemeyer, 20 June 1917, appended to Chapter 
Minutes, ibid. 

,3< AAM. Letter from Bernard Haas to Haid, 14 September 1917. [Al.O, No. 2. 
Bernard Haas, OSB, RP] 

139 AAM. Letter from Mother Edith, OSB, to Haid, Holy Thursday, 1893. [Al.O, 
No. 1. Bristow Sisters] 

,40 The Abbey did not assign a trained archivist until The Reverend David Kessinger, 
OSB, was appointed in 1973. This document was catalogued c. 1981. 

I4, AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 28 November 1917. 

,42 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 31 December 1917. [Al.O, No. 4. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

M3 AAM. Letter from Haid to Pohl, 26 December 1887. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius Pohl, 
OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

,44 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 25 July 1898. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius Pohl, OSB, 
RP — Correspondence] 

,45 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 16 June 1898. [Al .O, No. 1 . Julius Pohl, OSB, 
RP— Correspondence] 

146 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid 22 May 1900. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius Pohl, OSB, 
RP — Correspondence] 

,47 SBMA. Day Book, 3 August 1901. 

,4< AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 17 January 1897. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius Pohl, 
OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

149 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 9 August 1897. [Al .O, No. 1 . Julius Pohl, OSB, 
R P — Correspondence] 

,50 SBMA. Day Book, 31 May 1900. 

,5, AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 3 November 1900. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius Pohl, 
OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

,52 SBMA. Day Book, 28 December 1902. 

" 3 AAM. Letter from Haid to Priors and Fathers in Savannah, Richmond, and 
Bristow, 10 September 1908. [Al.O, No. 1. Apostolates: Priories] 

,54 Cf. A AM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 9 March 1910. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius Pohl, 
OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

'"Leo Haid continued to stress these monastic requirements in his three other 
houses, but for Bristow there is no further mention of their importance. 

"These centered on the brothers, but priests and clerics also were involved. 

157 Of course he was never in residence at Bristow to test his effect there. 

"Those who took this approach were small in number, but they caused the Prior 
disproportionate difficulty. 

"This is an abridged chronicle of the Brothers' conversatw and stability, offered as an 
illustration of the conditions with which the Prior was dealing: 

On 15 November 1895, Brother Wolfgang left in the night and tried to find a wife 
in Maryland.(a) Brother Herman departed on 14 September 1896, that being the best 
alternative to suicide.(b) In 1897, a particularly busy year, Brother Joseph, "who came 
here in rags — without anything whatsoever — and proved a traitor," was expelled;(c) 
Brother John a former Trappist went to Bristow,(d) stayed three months, and returned 
to the Trappists;(e) Brother Leonard, the cook, abandoned his post, so Bishop Haid 
sent Brother Willibald to replace him, but Brother Leonard returned the day before his 
successor appeared, and Father Julius, in the interest of peace, had to dispatch the 
former cook in a way that would prevent him and the new appointee from 
encountering one another.(f) Later that same year, Brother Bernard, who was so filthy 
and odoriferous that Pohl could not even bear to enter the man's cell, was writing illicit 
letters.(g) And before the year was completed, Brother Cook "left without a word, "(h) 
and returned again — to "a cold reception. "(i) Conditions worsened the next year. In 
front of the students, two Brothers "created quite a scene. . .the one biting, the other 
scratching and inundating each other with water."(j) Another cook left and Father 
Julius hired his own mother in an effort to stabilize the kitcheners. Mrs. Pohl, 
however, was severely upbraided in altercations with Brothers,(k) and died before 
finishing a single year on the job.(l) Through the years, the kitchen continued to be the 
center of Pohl's troubles. In 1904, the cook and another brother came to blows,(m) 
then a third brother "boxed" the Cook.(n) Brother Vincent, the cook mentioned in the 
two previous incidents, was still in prime vigor in 1920, when he caused 

quite an eruption. He chased boys with clubs and cornered them even into 
the very toilet-rooms, slapping them, etc., which though often forbidden 
him, is of frequent occurrence. Even the sight of blood does not cause him 
to halt. The loud and scandalous talk — disedifying all within reach of 
hearing ... is such that if by chance any guests were here — and could not 
fail to understand — would force me to claim ill-health. The humiliation 
would simply be overwhelming! A few hours after this he tackled Reverend 
Father Florian and Frater Denis, before all the boys, calling both "bums", 
ignorant fellows, dirty lazy men, incapable of teaching or prefecting. 
...Clubs (not card-clubs) are the usual resort; stones to hurl at the 
Prefect — apparently (of this I would not be oversure) he went to his room; 
indications point to a knife. Needless to say parents will soon hear of this.(o) 

Brother Vincent was replaced as cook, but was kept at Saint Maur. Then Father 
Julius learned that the new cook was the man who had actually instigated his 
predecessor's last rampage.(p) Had only the brothers disrupted Bristow, Pohl might 
have survived on better terms. But one priest in particular proved so abrasive, and 
succeeded in causing sufficient scandal, that he actually earned abbatial intervention. 
He was the worst problem among the monk-priests, but he was not alone. Many were 
as motley as so many brothers had proven, although most of the clerics were at least 
less violent. Their offenses which got them sent to Saint Maur ranged from the refusal 
of a newly ordained priest to preach, to a drug addiction acquired while on assignment 
in Richmond. This last man was one of Polh's greatest successes. Being completely 
rehabilitated, he returned to Belmont where he became one of the College's foremost 
educators. He was also an unfailing proponent of the wisdom of leadership and the 
paternal charity of Leo Haid, whose judgment had placed him in what at first seemed 
the wild and burdensome world of Julius Pohl's Priory. 


(a) SBMA. Day Book, 15 November 1895. 

(b) Ibid., 14 September 1896. 

(c) Ibid., 2 May 1897. 

(d) Ibid., 12 May 1897. 

(e) A AM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 4 August 1897. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Julius Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

(f) SBMA. Day Book, 12 July 1897, and 13 July 1897. 

(g) AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 10 November 1897. [Al .O, No. 1 . 
Julius Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

(h) SBMA. Day Book, 30 November 1897. 
ii)Ibid., 1 December 1897. 

(j) AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 10 June 1898. [Al .O, No. 1 . Julius 
Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

(k) AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 16 June 1898. [Al .O, No. 1 . Julius 
Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

(1) SBMA. Day Book, 24 January 1899. 

(m) AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 23 May 1904. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Julius Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

(n) AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 3 June 1904. [Al .O, No. 1 . Julius 
Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

(o) AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 26 May 1920. [Al .O, No. 7. Saint 
Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

(p) AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 27 May 1920. [Al .O, No. 7. Saint 
Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

160 Although Saint Maur was never really put in order, the proximate cause of the 
removal of Pohl from office in 1922 was supposedly the Prior's ill health, not his 

,6, SBMA. Day Book, 26 November 1900. 

ltl Ibid., 28 October 1900. 

163 AAM. Letter from Mrs. A.J. Barnes to Haid, 3 August 1922. [Al .O, No. 8. Saint 
Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 
>6 *Ibid. 
l6S Ibid. 

I( *lbid. Father Julius had always thought his health delicate, and he complained 
frequently. People were so accustomed to this feature of his personality, that even in 
his final illness there was some reluctance to indulge him. 

167 AAM. Letter from Mrs. F.M. Kane to Haid, 16 August 1922. [Al .O, No. 9. Saint 
Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

16 *AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 12 July 1917. [Al.O, No. 3. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow Virginia]. And Letter from Pohl to Haid, 12 June 1919 [Al.O, No. 
6. Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia]. And SBMA. Ledger. 

,69 Cf. AAM. Letter from Raphael Arthur to Haid, 8 January 1917. [Al.O, No. 3. 
Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia]. And Letter from Pohl to Haid, 19 January 
1920. [Al.O, No. 6. Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

,70 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 12 June 1919. 

171 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 12 July 1917. 

I72 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 19 January 1920. 

,73 AAM. Letter from John O'Grady to Bishop O'Connell, 19 August 1922. [Al.O, 
No. 9. Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

]14 Ibid. 
ns Ibid. 

176 AAM. Letter from Mrs. F.M. Kane to Haid, 16 August 1922. 
177 AAM. Letter from Mrs. A.J. Barnes to Haid, 3 August 1922. 

,7, Cf. AAM. Letter from Joseph Tobin to Haid, 4 August 1922. 

l79 Ibid. Abbot Leo never did deal with Smith; and Pohl's successor was saddled with 
the man, too — but only for the time required to choreograph the expulsion. 

"°IHcl. And AAM. Letter from Tobin to Haid, 6 August 1922. [Al.O, No. 8. Saint 
Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia]. And Letter from O'Grady to Bishop O'Connell, 19 
August 1922. 

181 AAM. Letter from Tobin to Haid, 4 August 1922. 


,,3 AAM. Letter from Tobin to Haid, 6 August 1922. 

1,4 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 14 August 1922. [Al.O, No. 8. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

1,5 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 20 August 1922. [Al.O, No. 9. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

1M Cf. AAM. Letter from Zilliox to Pohl, 28 January 1886. [Al.O, No. 1. Julius 
Pohl, OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

1,7 AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid, 10 June 1919. [Al.O, No. 6. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

1M AAM. Letter from Bishop O'Connell to Haid, 22 August 1922. [Al.O, No. 9. 
Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

1,9 AAM. Letter from O'Grady to Bishop O'Connell, 19 August 1922. 

,90 SBMA. Ledger. 

t9, IHd. And AAM. Twenty-Ninth Annual Statement: Saint Joseph Institute, 19 
August 1922. [Al.O, No. 9. Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

192 AAM. Letter from Ignatius Remke to Haid, 10 January 1923. [Al.O, No. 10. 
Saint Joseph Institute Bristow, Virginia] 

1,3 AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 22 January 1924. [Al .O, No. 12, Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

'"AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 11 September 1922. [Al.O, No. 10. Saint 
Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

,95 SBMA. Ledger. 

19 *AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 10 January 1923. 

1,7 AAM . Letter from Wilfrid Foley and John Smith to Leo Haid, 20 July 1924. 
[Al.O, No. 1. Bristow Monks — Correspondence] 

,98 AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 1 1 September 1922. 

,99 AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 26 September 1923. [Al.O, No. 1. Bristow 
M on ks — Correspondence] 

200 AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 22 January 1924. 
201 AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 1 1 September 1922. 

M2 AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 30 October 1922. [Al .O, No. 10. Saint Joseph 
Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 
203 A AM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 10 January 1923. 

204 AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 16 February 1923. [Al.O, No. 11. Saint 
Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 

Wi Ibid. 

^AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 23 February 1923. This letter is marked 
''Destroy!" [Al.O, No. 11. Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, Virginia] 
M7 Cf. Chapter VIII. 

201 AAM . Letter from Remke to Haid, 23 February 1923. 

m Ibid. 


210 AAM. Copy of the decision of the Circuit Court of Prince William County, 
Virginia (undated [February, 1923]). [Al.O, No. 1. Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, 

V irginia] 

2,1 Johnston, 88 and 115. 

212 Maryhelp also reserved an option on some of the livestock, but on 1 1 July 1927 
the Abbey announced its decision not to withdraw the animals. Cf. SBMA. Letter 
from Vincent Taylor to Mother Agnes, 1 1 July 1927. 

213 Taylor elaborated on the points in: SBMA. Letter from Taylor to Mother Agnes, 
18 May 1927. 

214 Cf. SBMA. Letter from Taylor to Mother Agnes, 4 June 1927. 
2,5 AAM. Petition from Taylor to Camillus Cardinal Laurenti, Prefect of the 
Congregation for Religious, 1 July 1927. [A2.0, No. 1 . Saint Joseph Institute, Bristow, 

V irginia] 

2,6 SBMA. Letter from Taylor to Mother Agnes, (dated 24 October 1924, should be:) 
24 October 1927. 

Ch&pteR VI: 

the mitRe exceeds 
the CROzieR 

AAM. Volume i of the Abbey's Publicity Files contains a set of press clippings 
regarding the appointment. These are the most important: 'Two New Bishops 
Selected," New York World, 22 January 1897. "Surprise From Rome," Baltimore Sun, 
23 January 1897. "Surprise From Rome," Pittsburgh Post, 23 January 1897. "New 
Catholicism Loses," New York Journal, 24 January 1897. "Wilmington's New Bishop," 
New York Herald, 24 January 1897. 

2 Sun, ibid. 


* Journal. 



7 Cf. discussion in Ellis, Life, II, 447. 
s Sun. 

'AAB. Minutes of the Meeting of the Bishops of the Province of Baltimore, 24 
September 1896. 

,0 AAB. Gibbons' diary, entry for 9 October 1896. 

"AAB. ibid., entry for 24 September 1896. And AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 
3 September 1896. 

12 AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 26 September 1896. 

13 AAB. Gibbons' diary, entry for 15 February 1897. 

"Ibid., entry for 9 May 1897. 

"AAM. Chapter Minutes, 11 June 1898. 

l6 Ibid., 26 June 1897. 

17 SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 27 October 1897. 
"AAM. Publicity Files, Volume i. "Item of Interest From a Centre of Apostolic 
Work," Catholic Mirror, October, 1897. 


"AAM. Publicity Files, i, contains much of the newspaper coverage of the festivities. 
In particular see: "Silver Jubilee at Belmont: Cardinal Gibbons Will Be There," 
Charlotte Observer, 19 November 1897. "Departure of Cardinal Gibbons," Baltimore 
Sun, 24 November 1897. "Cardinal Gibbon's Party," Charlotte Observer, 24 November 
1897. "Silver Sacerdotal Jubilee," Catholic Mirror, November 1897. "Notable Day at 
Saint Mary's," Charlotte Observer, 25 November 1897. 

"Ibid. Also, Invitation for 25 November 1897. [Mil, No. 1. Haid's Jubilee] 

2, "Notable Day at Saint Mary's." 

""Silver Sacerdotal Jubilee." 

"SAA, No.3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 29 November 1897. 
24 AAM. Publicity Files, i, p. 204. "A Spiritual Retreat," (unlabeled newspaper 
clipping, 1898). 

25 AAM. Most of the description comes from Paschal Baumstein, 'The First Sign of 
Permanance," Crescat (Summer, 1982), pp. 1-6, 

26 AAM. Publicity Files, i, 203. "North Carolina Benedictines," Catholic Standard and 
Times, [19] September 1898. 

"AAM. Publicity Files, i, includes many articles covering the conflagration. "Catholic 
College a Mass of Ruins," Catholic Standard and Times, [undated]. "College Burned," 
Latrobe Clipper, 20 May 1900. "Catholic College Destroyed," Pittsburgh Dispatch, 20 
May 1900. "College Burned," Columbus Enquirer, 20 May 1900. 'Tire at Saint Mary's 
Monastery," Richmond Dispatch, 20 May 1900. "Saint Mary's College Burned," 
Washington Post, 20 May 1900. "Belmont College Fire," Johnstown Democrat, 20 May 
1900. "Parents in Pittsburgh Anxious Over a Fire," Pittsburgh Post, 20 May 1900. 
"Saint Mary's College Burns," Atlanta Constitution, 20 May 1900. 'Tire at Saint 
Mary's: Well Known College Suffers Heavily," [unlabeled]. "Saint Mary's College 
Burned, Charlotte Observer, 20 May 1900. "Saint Mary's College Burned," Gastonia 
Gazette, 23 May 1900. 'The Burning of Saint Mary's" Norfolk Landmark, [undated]. 
'The Situation at Belmont," Charlotte Observer, 22 May 1900. "Saint Mary's College, 
Belmont, Partially Burned Today," Charlotte News, 19 May 1900. Felix Hintemeyer, 
"Catholic College in Ruins," Catholic Standard and Times, (undated). 

"Newspapers differ regarding whether or not there was sufficient water to justify 
the journey from Charlotte. Hintemeyer argued that water was "abundant." 

29 SBSA, No.l. Letter from Haid to Drexel, 30 May 1900. 

"SJA, No.l. Letter from Haid to Peter Engel, 24 May 1900. 

3, SJA, No.l. Letter from Haid to Engel, 9 June 1900. 

"AAM. Chapter Minutes, 19 May 1900. 

"AAM. Publicity Files, i, 225. "Saint Mary's College Burned." 

34 AAM. Haas' chronology. 

"AAM. Publicity Files, i, 226. 'The Situation at Belmont." 
*SJA, No.l. Letter from Haid to Engel, 24 May 1900. 
"AAM. Letter from Primate to Haid, 25 June 1900. 
"SJA, No.l. Letter from Haid to Engel, 9 June 1900. 
"SJA, No.l. Letter from Haid to Engel, 24 May 1900. 

40 AAM. Letter from Haid to Francis Meyer, 26 May 1900. [A1.0, No.l . Fire (1900)]. 


42 Cf., Paschal Baumstein, "A Divine Practice," The North Carolina Architect (July- 
August, 1983), pp. 14-19. 

43 AAM. Catalogue of Saint Mary's College. Cf. honors listing for 1900-1901 and 

""Salute to Our Master Builder, "Abbey: News, Views, (Spring, 1957), p. 1. 

45 "A Church Should Make People Mindful of God," [New Subiaco] Abbey Message 
(October, 1951), p. 1. 

"Nevertheless, the dating of his exeat and testimonials indicates that his initial 
attendance at Belmont was not for clerical or religious purposes. 

47 "A Church Should . . ." 

4, AAM. Circular letter over the signatures of Bernard Haas and Leo Haid, undated 
(August, 1900). [B6, No.l. Fire (1900)] 

4, AAM. Letter from Haid to Mark Cassidy, undated (Spring, 1919 ?). [M102, No.2. 
Leo Haid, O.S.B., Abbot] 

"AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 7 December 1907. 

"Cf. BSA. 

"SJA, No.l. Letter from Haid to Engel. 3 December 1909. 

"A AM. [A1.0, No.7. Sermons and Retreats] 

54 AAM. [A1.0, No.4. Sermons and Retreats] 

"SJA, No.l. Letter from Haid to Engel, 10 September 1907. 

56 AAM. Notes for opening address of retreat at Saint Vincent Archabbey, 30 July 
1919. [A1.0, No.2. Sermons and Retreats] 

"AAM. Notes for retreat for novices, 12 June 1918 conference. [A1.0, No.2. 
Sermons and Retreats] 

"AAM. "Lecture to Myself and Superiors," by Leo Haid, 29 June 1913 (second day 
of four of conferences). [A1.0, No.7. Sermons and Retreats] 

"AAM. The Ludwig-Missionsverein was signed into existence by Ludwig, King of 
Bavaria, on 12 December 1838. Two-thirds of its monies were to support missionaries 
in Asia and the New World; the rest was to assist Franciscans at the Holy Sepulcher in 

Jerusalem. Cf. Theodore Roemer, The Ludwig Missionsverein and the Church in the United 
States (1838 1918), (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1933 
[published dissertation]). Much of the correspondence from Belmont was written by 
Felix Hintemeyer, and is preserved on microfilm at NDUA. 

The Society of the Propagation of the Faith was founded in Lyons in 1822. It 
sought to organize spiritual and financial aid to Catholic missionaries. 

61 Much of what follows is from Baumstein, "Divine." 

"Cf. AAM. Mrs. W.R. Stowe, three page typescript later published in the Charlotte 
Observer and the Georgia Bulletin. [M91, No.2. Newspaper Coverage] 

"Cf. BPA. Letter from Michael Mclnerney to Eugene Egan, 29 November 1923. 

"AAM. Cf. official file on Michael Mclnerney. [A3.0, No.l ff. Michael Mclnerney, 

"AAM. Two page typescript, undated (1950's?). [B5, No.l. Michael Mclnerney, 
OSB, RP— Career Review] 
"Ibid. Also vita in official file. 

"SJA, No.3. Letter from Haid to Alexius Edelbrock, 25 August 1888. 

"AAM. Letter from Haid to Sister Mary de Ricci, 10 September 1908. [Al .0, No.l . 
Correspondence, 1906-1910] 

"AAM. Letter from Father Thomas Stemler, O.S.B., to Haid, 13 May 1916. [A1.0, 
No.l. Correspondence, 1916-1920] 

70 AAM. Letter from Julius Pohl to Haid, 9 August 1897. [A 1.0, No.l. Julius Pohl, 
OSB, RP— Correspondence] 

"SVA, No.9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 2 December 1889. 

72 SJA, No.3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 17 September, 1889. 

"AAM. "Lecture to Myself and Superiors," by Haid, 18 June 1913 (first day of four 
of conferences). [A1.0, No.7. Sermons and Retreats] 


74 AAM. Notes for retreat conferences for novices, 12 June 1918. [A1.0, No.2. 
Sermons and Retreats] 

75 A AM. Letter from Leo Panoch to Haid, 18 June 1895. [A1.0, No.l. 
Correspondence, 1884-1899] 

76 ACFA. Letter from Haid to Engel, 26 October 1902. 

"AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 20 August 1892. 

7, AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 5 June 1889. 

7, Cf. Ellis, Life, I, 83. 

•°SVA, No. 1 1. Letter from Haid to Aurelius Stehle, 22 May 1924. 
"SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 30 December 1895. 
"ACFA. Letter from Haid to Innocent Wolf, 16 February 1900. 
"SVA, No. 14. Letter from Hintemeyer to Prior of Saint Vincent, 1 July 1909. 
M AAM. Letter from Locnikar to Haid, 6 April 1894. 
"SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 30 December 1895. 
**SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 4 November 1903. And SVA, No. 10. 
Letter from Haid to Leander Schnerr, 7 April 1917. 
,7 SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 6 November 1904. 
"SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 17 December 1903, and 30 July 1905. 
"SJA. Letter from Haid to Locnikar, 25 January 1891. 

'"SJA. Letter from Haid to Engel, 13 April 1916. And BSA, No. 1 . Letter from Haid 
to Drexel, 22 January 1916. 

"SVA, No. 14. Letter from Haid to Prior of Saint Vincent, 24 June 1910. 
92 SJA. Letter from Haid to Engel, 13 April 1916. 

93 Cf., for example, SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 14 October 1906. 
M AAM. Conference notes by Haid, 1912. [A1.0, No. 6. Sermons and Retreats] 
"AAM. Conference notes by Haid for priests' retreat, 1912. [A1.0, No.6. Sermons 
and Retreats] 

""Memories," part two (uncatalogued at AAM), by Sebastian Doris, OSB, 29 
September 1979. 

97 SJA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Edelbrock, 1 November 1889. 

98 AAM. Petition from parishioners at Saint Mary Church (Richmond), January 
1901. [A1.0, No. 1. Willibald Baumgartner, OSB, RP— Saint Mary's Petitions] 

"AAM. Notice (10 January 1901) for meeting (13 January 1901), Saint Mary 
Church (Richmond). [A1.0, No. 1. Willibald Baumgartner, OSB, RP— Saint Mary's 

l00 AAM. Minutes of parish oners' meeting, 13 Janaury 1901. [A 1.0, No. 1. Willibald 
Baumgartner, OSB, RP— Saint Mary's Petitions] 

m Ibid 

,02 AAM. Letter from Van de Vyver to Haid, 11 January 1901. [A1.0, No. 1. 
Willibald Baumgartner, OSB, RP— Saint Mary's Petitions] 

103 AAM. Letter from Baumgartner to Haid, 17 April 1901. [A1.0, No. 2. Willibald 
Baumgartner, OSB, RP] 

l04 Ordo of the American Cassinese Congregation of the Order of Saint Benedict 
(issued annually). 

i0, Ibid. 

i06 Ibid 

i07 Ibid. 

m Ibid. 

,09 BPA. Corporation Minutes, 3 October 1902. 
"Hbid.,1 December 1902. 
,n Ibid., 9 December 1902. 

u Hbid, 14 February 1904. 
,n Ibid.,4 August 1904. 

" 4 BPA. Letter from Haid to Haas, 1 November 1904. 

" 5 BPA. Letter from Mclnerney to Egan, 26 October 1923. 

" 6 BPA. On 18 December 1901, Bishop Keiley addressed Father Aloysius Hanlon, 
OSB, confirming the parish boundaries from Oswald Moosmueller's time. But in 1919, 
when Blessed Sacrament Parish was given its borders, territory was 
taken — understandably and appropriately — from Sacred Heart (cf. notice from Keiley, 
12 July 1919). In 1920, Benedictines were continuing to protest the partition of their 
territory in Savannah (see letter from Haas to Keiley, 28 June 1920). 

" 7 BPA. Letter from Keiley to Haas, 26 October 1902. 

"•BPA. Letter from Keiley to Aloysius Hanlon, 3 July 1908. 

'"BPA. Letter from Keiley to Haas, 12 September 1915. 

,20 BPA. Letter from Keiley to Haas, 28 October 1919. 

,21 Cf. for example, AAM. Letters from Keiley to Haid, 6 February and 12 February 

,22 Cf. BPA. Letter from Haas to Egan, 20 July 1921. 
,23 Cf. McGraw. 

'"Robert Brennan, A History of Saint Mary 's Church, Richmond, Virginia (Belmont: 

Abbey Press, 1962), 21. 

'"Margaret Meagher, History of Education in Richmond (Richmond: Works Progress 
Administration [Federal Writers' Project], 1939), 125. 

126 Cf. SAA No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 8 October 1909. 

,27 AAM. Letter from Haid to Mark Cassidy, undated (Spring, 1919 7). [M102, No. 2. 
Leo Haid, OSB, Bishop] 

,M AAM. Letter from Pohl to Haid and capitulars, undated (1914). 

'"D.RICH.A. Consultors' Minutes, 1909-1910. 

'"Cf. McGraw. 

m SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 23 January 1911. 
'"D.RICH.A. Roman documents files, 10 June 1910. 

'"Cf. AAM. Letter from Haid to Mark Cassidy, 25 March 1919. [M102, No. 1. Leo 
Haid, OSB, Bishop] 

'"AAM. Letter from Haid to Mark Cassidy, undated (Spring, 1919). 

'"Cf. AAM. Letters from Haid to Mark Cassidy, 28 April 1919, 2 December 1920, 8 
July 1921, 21 July 1921. [M102, No. 1 and No. 2. Leo Haid, OSB, Bishop] 

'*BPA. Notice from Haid, 17 September 1902. 

13 BP A. Letter from Haid to Haas, 17 February 1902. 

,M AAM. Letter from Haid to Priors and Priests at Saint Maur, Sacred Heart, and 
Saint Mary (Richmond), 10 September 1908. 

!3 'Cf., for example, the Savannah catalogue (1908) and Richmond catalogue 
(1912-1913). The daily horarium was 

8:30 a.m. 

doors opened 
flag ceremony 
military drill 


class recitations 


1 2:00 p.m. 

class recitations 
flag ceremony 


l40 Richmond catalogue, ibid. 

14I BPA. Letter from Haid to Haas, 27 October 1921. 
'"Savannah Catalogue, 1906. 

' 43 AAM. Letter from Haid to Mark Cassidy, undated (c. 1920). [Ml 02, No. 3. Leo 
Haid, OSB, Bishop] 

l **Ibid. 

""Richmond catalogue, 1913-1914. 

146 AAM. Letter from Haid to Mark Cassidy, undated (c. 1920). 
,47 SLA. Diary of Joseph Kast. 

I4 *AAM, Letter from Haid to Mark Cassidy, undated (c. 1920). 

,49 SJA, No. 1 . Letter from Haid to Engel, 1 1 February 1904. 

150 AAM. "With Bishop Leo Haid, OSB, in North Carolina," unsigned work [by a lay 
student ?], undated (c. 1928 [sic]). [B5, No. 2. Golden Jubilee— Testimonials] 

"'AAM. Letter from Father George Bornermann to Haid, 27 November 1891. 
[A1.0, No. 1. Correspondence 1884-1899] 

'"College Catalogue, 1885-1886. 

'"Cf. Publicity Files, v, 7. "At Belmont College: Gratifying Prospects for Bright 
Opening Thursday," unlabeled newspaper article (1915 or 1916). 
'"College Catalogue, 1917-1918. 
lSi Ibid., 1920-1921. 
>,6 Ibid, 1917-1918. 

,5t Ibid. , 1916-1917. 
"Vbid , 1909-1910. 
Xf0 Ibid., 1920-1921. 
,6, Cf. ibid., 1879-1880. 
xa Ibid., 1916-1917. 
16i Ibid. 

164 Cf. ibid., 19^0-1921. 
l6i Ibid., 1922-1923. 

166 AAM. Publicity Files, i, 107, "Saint Mary's College," Mount Holly \ews, dateline 
25 May 1891. 

167 AAM. Letter from Thomas Oestreich to Haid, 21 March 1891. [A1.0, No. 1. 
Thomas Oestreich, OSB, RP] 

"*AAM. Will of Henry G. Ganss, 3 January 1909. [A1.9, No. 1. Ganss, 
H.G.— Estate] 

169 AAM. Visitation Reports from 1910, 1914, and 1920. [A1.0, No. 1. Visitation 
(1910) (1914) (1920)] 

l70 Most of what follows is taken from Paschal Baumstein, 'The Tradition of Saint 
Leo's," Crescat (Autumn, 1981), 1-6. 

17, AAM has Mclnerney's floor plans, original drawing, and other materials. 

I72 AAM. The Ql collection contains photographs, both interior and exterior, of 
Saint Leo Hall. 

173 AAM. Text reprinted in Souvenir of the Alumni Reunion, 27 November 1913. 
174 AAM. Notes for retreat for novices, 11 June 1918. 
'"AAM. Letter from Haid to Mark Cassidy, undated (c. 1920). 
176 AAM. Notes for retreat for novices, 11 June 1918. 
,77 AAM. "Lecture to Myself and Superiors," 1913. 

171 AAM. "Some Hints— Prefects and Professors," by Leo Haid, undated (c. 1915). 
[Al .0, No. 1 . Hints for Prefects and Professors]. These instructions were posted for the 
faculties of all four schools. 

,79 SJA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Engel, 3 December 1909. 

"The prize is preserved in AAM. 

m Souvenir. 

xll lbid, 

Kti Ordo. 

IM SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 10 May 1903. 

1,5 AAM. Letter from Haid to Hintemeyer, 11-12 June 1903. [Ml 1, No. 2, Leo Haid, 

"*SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 4 November 1903. 
" 7 AAM. Letter from Haid to Hintemeyer, 13 August 1903. 
"*Cf., for example, AAM. Letter from Haid to Hintemeyer, 6 June 1903. 
"'Cf., for example, AAM. Letter from Haid to Hintemeyer, 22 August 1903. 
"°AAM. This correspondence fills seven folders. [Mil, Nos.1-7. Leo Haid, Abbot] 
19, AAM. Letter from Haid to Hintemeyer, 8 June 1903. [Mil, No. 2. Leo Haid, 

1,2 SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 20 June 1904. 

1,3 AAM. Letter from Haid to Hintemeyer, 8 June 1903. 

"*SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 4 November 1903. 

,,5 SAA, No. 3. Letter from Haid to Primate, 17 April 1904. 

196 SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 20 June 1904. 

197 AAM does not have full estate files for Brown, but some of the letters from the 
niece, Mrs. Annie Devereaux of Boston, are still extant. [A2.0, No. 1. Devereaux, 

"'Most of the files from the O'Donoghue settlement are contained in AAM. [Al .0, 
No. 1 . O'Donoghue Estate] 

Chaptec vii: 

A Qpasp on SecuRity 

'The best discussion of the juridical aspects of being an abbatia nullius is: Matthew 
Benko, The Abbot 'Nullius ', in The Catholic University of America Canon Law Studies, 
no. 173 [published doctoral dissertation] (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University 
of America Press, 1943). 

2 Ibid., 27. 

3 Maria Einsiedeln, which may have been created an abbey nullius as early as 934, 
and thus would be the oldest existing abbatial 'diocese' in the world, has today no 
territory beyond its monastery grounds. When Mary help's nullius territory was 
subjected to its second partition (1960), and reduced to the grounds of the abbey, it 
became the smallest 'diocese' in the universal Church. For a concise statement of the 
origins of abbeys nullius, cf. ibid,, 9-13. 

4 Cf. ibid., xiii and 1-2. Canons 319-327 in the 1917 Codex reflect the fact that "the 
Code has evolved almost a new legislation in this respect." Whereas, the old Code 
evaluated abbeys nullius from their hierarchial status, and thus was mostly concerned 
with their existence as sub-diocesan entities, the 1917 Code approached them from the 
perspective of the role of the Abbot-Ordinary, which was on a par with that of a 
bishop, except in matters pertaining to powers exclusive to episcopal Orders. 

5 AAM. Letters from Haid to Hintemeyer, 16 and 18 June 1903. [Mil, No. 1. 
Apostolic Delegate (vicariate/?Vtt///«j)] 

6 AAM. Financial Statement, 1 January 1899. [Jl, No. 1. Abbey (1898)] 

7 AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Delegate, undated (1909). [Mil, No. 1. 
Apostolic Delegate (Vicariate/tfVw///W)] 

8 A AM. Letter from Haid to Primate, 8 November 1909. [A5.0, No. 6. Abbatial 
Confirmation/^Vtt///ttj Change, 1975, etc.] 

9 AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Haid undated (May 1908). [Al .0, No. 1 . Nullius] 



"SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, (14 ?) May 1908. 
12 AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Haid, undated (May 1908). 
"SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, (14 ?) May 1908. 
14 AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Haid, undated (May 1908). 
,5 AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 24 June 1908. 

,7 SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 22 March 1909. 


"SAA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Primate, 8 April 1909. 
^SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 10 April 1909. 
2, SAA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Primate, 8 April 1909. 
"SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 10 April, 1909. 
23 AAM. Copy of petition of 1 1 April 1909. [Al .0, No. 1 . Nullius Erection— Petition] 
M AAM. Letter from Haid to Primate, 8 November 1909. [A5.0, No. 6. Abbatial 
ConfirmationA^tt/Z/ttj Change, 1975, etc.] 

25 AAB. Letter from De Lai to Gibbons, 16 December 1909. 
M AAB. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 24 June 1908. 
27 AAB. Letter from Gibbons to De Lai, 25 January 1910. 

N Cf. SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 19 April 1910. 

M AAM. Letter from Delegate to Haid, 20 March 1910. [A5.0, No. 6. Abbatial 
ConfirmationA r tt///tt5 Change, 1975, etc.] 

31 AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, undated (March, 1910, No. 2). [A5.0, 
No. 6. Abbatial Confirmation/Ntt///tt5 Change, 1975, etc.] 

32 AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, undated (March, 1910, No. 1). [A5.0, 
No. 6. Abbatial ConfirmationA^///^ Change, 1975, etc.] 

33 AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, undated (March, 1910, No. 2). 

M SAA, No. 2. Hintemeyer to Primate, 22 March 1910. 

35 AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, undated (March, 1910, No. 2). 

*AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, undated (March, 1910, No. 1). 

37 AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, undated (March, 1910, No. 2). 

3, AAM. Letter from Delegate to Haid, 24 March 1910. [A5.0, No. 6. Abbatial 
ConfirmationA r a///ttj Change, 1975, etc.] 

39 SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 22 March 1910. 

^AA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 28 March 1910. 

4, SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 19 April 1910. 

42 AAM. Letter from Hintemeyer to Delegate, undated (1910). [Mil, No. 1. 
Apostolic Delegate (VicariateA^«///«j] 

43 SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 19 April 1910. 

"Cf. SAA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Primate, 4 June 1910. 

45 SAA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Primate, 12 May 1910. 

"SAA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Primate, 24 June 1910. 

47 AAM. Letter from Apostolic Delegation to Haid, 23 June 1910. [A5.0, No. 6. 
Abbatial Confirmation/N«///ttj Change, 1975, etc.] And AAB. Letter from Apostolic 
Delegation to Gibbons, 23 June 1910. 

""America's Only Abbatia Nullius ," Newsletter (November, 1910), 2. 

4 The Bulls are preserved in AAM. (+ E, No. 1. Ecclesia] The Bull of Erection was 
published in: "Erectio Abbatiae Belmontensis in 'Abbatiam Nullius'", American 
Ecclesiastical Review Pecember, 1910), 690-695. 


"Cf. note from Anselm Biggs, O.S.B., in AAM. [E10, No. 1. Nullius Erection 
(Translation of Bull)] 

"AAM. Bulla Erectionis, 8 June 1910. This is quoted from the translation by Biggs, 


"Cf. AAM. Letter from Christopher Dennen to Hintemeyer, 26 October 1910. 
[A1.0, No. 1. Dennen, Christopher, Reverend] 
"AAM. Bulla Erectionis, 8 June 1910. 

"AAM. Letter from Delegate to Haid, 21 September 1910. [A1.0, No. 2. Nullius 
Erection Ceremony] 

"'Talconio at Belmont." The Charlotte Daily Observer (18 October 1910), 1. 

""America's Only Abbatia Nullius" Newsletter (November 1910), 3-4. 

""Belmont Cathedral Abbey Erected With Impressive Catholic Ceremony," The 
Charlotte Daily Observer (19 October 1910), 1-3. 

""Pomp and Ceremony at Belmont Abbey: Pope Confers Honor," The Charlotte 
News (18 October 1910), 7. 

M Cf. The jubilee Book of Belmont Abbey (Belmont: Abbey Press, 1910), 27. 

""Belmont Cathedral . . .", 3. 

62 A AM. Invitation for 18 October 1910. [A1.0, No. 2. Silver Jubilee (Abbatial)] 
"SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 29 October 1910. 
M SAA, No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 19 April 1910. 
"AAM. Letter from Gibbons to Haid, 22 September 1910. [A1.0, No. 1. Gibbons, 
James Cardinal] 

"AAM. Letter from Gibbons to Hintemeyer, 18 October 1910. [Mil, No. 2. 
Correspondence — Official] 
67 "Pomp . . .", 7. 

M SJA. Letter from Haid to Peter Engel, 6 April 1909. 

69 AAM. Letter from Dennen to Hintemeyer, 26 October 1910. 

70 SJA, No, 1. Letter from Haid to Engel, 22 November 1910. 

7, AAB. Letter from Michael Irwin to Gibbons, 3 November 1910. 

72 A AM. Letter from Dennen to Haid, 26 October 1910. 

73 Cf. AAB. Letter from Irwin to Gibbons, 3 November 1910. 

14 Ibid. 

"Ibid. Dennen, however, places the story later— 1901. Cf. AAB, No. 3. Letter from 
Dennen to Delegate, 30 May 1922, also signed by secular clergy of the Vicariate 
Apostolic of North Carolina. 


"AAM. Letter from Dennen to Hintemeyer, 30 October 1910. [A1.0, No. 1. 
Correspondence (1910)] 

n Ibid. 

7 'Cf. Raymond Lane, The Early Days of Maryknoll (New York: David McKay 
Company, 1951), 58. 

S0 Cf. (Priest of Maryknoll), Father Price of Maryknoll: A Short Sketch of the Life of 
Reverend Thomas Frederick Price (Maryknoll, New York: Catholic Foreign Mission 
Society of America, 1923), 11-12. 

"AAB. Letter from Mark Gross to Gibbons, 10 November 1886. 

"Nazareth, the orphanage, was constituted in 1897, and by 1899 was in full 
operation. Sister Catherine, R.S.M., of the Belmont Mercies, one of two of Price's 
sisters who entered the convent, was his chief assistant. The Mercies also conducted 
the girls' asylum, Saint Anne, at Belmont. 

'The first copy of Truth appeared in April of 1897. Our Lady 's Orphan Boy entered 
publication in 1903, seeking funds to support the orphanage. 

84 Lane, 126. 

85 Cf. Robert E. Sheridan, The Founders of Maryknoll; Historical Reflections (Maryknoll, 

New York: Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, 1980), 6. 
86 CFMSA. Letter from George Woods to James Anthony Walsh, 18 August 1921. 
87 D.RAH.A. "Memoirs," (galley proofs) by William F. O'Brien. 

""Robert E. Sheridan, editor Very Reverend Thomas Frederick Price, M.M., Co Founder of 
Maryknoll: A Symposium (Privately published at Maryknoll, New York, 1956), interview 
with Louis Bour, 26 October 1955. 

"Sheridan, Founders, 6. 

™RB, chapter vii. 

9 CFMSA. Letter from Woods to Walsh, 18 August 1921. 
"Sheridan, Symposium, testimony of Michael Irwin. 
91 Ibid. , testimony of Vincent Taylor (October 1955). 

^This account comes from the paper Price placed in the cornerstone of the building 
on 21 April 1902. It was recovered after the building burned in 1906. 
"CFMSA. Price's Diary, entry for 5 July 1910. 

*Cf. Canonist's opinions requested by Haid on the proposed ordination in AAM. 
[DV1.0, No. 1. Woods, George, Reverend — Deafness Impediment] Woods was 
ordained a priest on 18 December 1910. 

97 CFMSA. Letter from Woods to Walsh, 18 August 1921. 

98 CF. Sheridan, Symposium. 

"Lane, 66. And CFMSA, Price's diary, entry for 14 October 1908. 

""Sheridan, Founders, 1 1 . 

10, CFMSA, Price's diary, entry for 6 October 1909. 
,02 Cf. ibid., 20 October 1909. 
™Ibid. t 2 May 1910. 

104 AAB. Letter from Price to Gibbons, 31 May 1910. 

i0, Ibid. 

,06 CFMSA. Price's diary, entry for 17 June 1910. 
,01 Ibid,4 July 1910. 
lu Ibid., 15 July 1910. 
iW Ibid, 22 August 1910. 

"°Ibid., retreat observations between entries for 22 and 23 August 1910. 
'"Cf. SAA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Primate, 4 June 1910. 
,12 CFMSA. Price's diary, entry for 4 October 1910. 
ui Ibid, 12 October 1910. 
nA Ibid., 16 October 1910. 

'"CFMSA. Letter from Price to Walsh, 16 October 1910. 
'"CFMSA. Price's diary, entry for 19 October 1910. 
"7^,22 October 1910. 
"•Ibid., 21 October 1910. 

"»AAB, No. 6. Letter from Price to Gibbons, 27 October 1910. 

,20 Ibid. 

m AAB, No. 5. Petition, November 1910, from the secular clergy of the Vicariate 
Apostolic of North Carolina to Gibbons, Metropolitan of the Province of Baltimore. 

'"These were Thomas Griffin, William O'Brien, Michael Irwin, Patrick Marion, 
William Whearty, Robert Barton, W.B. Hannon, Joseph Gallagher, Francis 
Gallagher, Thomas P. Hayden, and William J. Dillon. 

123 AAB, No. 5. Petition, November 1910. SCSA also has a copy. 

l24 Cf. Sheridan, Founders, 56-57. 

'"Sheridan, Symposium, document of 16 January 1911. 

,2 *CFMSA. Price's diary, entry for 1 April 1911. 

127 AAB. Minutes of the Meeting of the Archbishops of the United States, 27 April 

1M AAM. Letter from Woods to Haid, 27 June 1911. [DV 1 .0, No. 1 . Woods, George 
Andrew, Reverend] 

l29 AAM. Letter from Price to Haid, 7 October 1911. [A1.0, No. 1. Price, Thomas 
Frederick, Reverend] 

,30 CFMSA. Price's diary, entry for 18 and 23 January 1912. 
m Ibid., 8 April 1912. 

'"CFMSA. Letter from Irwin to Father Browne at Maryknoll, 22 October 1919. 

'"CFMSA. The letter from Woods to Walsh, 18 August 1921, consists largely of 
Father Woods' assessment of Price. The letter was submitted by Woods to Leo Haid 
for comment. On 22 August he appended the paragraph quoted. 

,34 AAM. Bulla Erectionis, 8 June 1910. 

l35 Cf. Souvenir of the Alumni Reunion, 27 November 1913. 

l36 Cf. for example, SCSA, No. 1 . Letter from Haid to Herman J. Heuser (editor of 

the American Ecclesiastical Review), undated (1911). 

,37 AAB, No. 2. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 28 January 1911. 
,3, Cf. ibid. 

,3, Cf. AAB. Letter from Father M. O'Keefe (to Gibbons 7), 5 January 1872. 
,40 AAM. Letter from Gibbons to Haid, 23 January 1911. [A1.0, No. 2. Gibbons, 
James Cardinal] 

,4, AAB, No. 2. Letter from Haid to Gibbons, 28 January 1911. 

l42 Cf. CFMSA. Price's diary, entry for 25 February 1911. 

I43 AAB. Letter from Dennen to Gibbons, 16 February 1911. 

,44 AAM. Letter from W.J. Dillion to Haid, 17 February 1911. [A1.0, No. 1. 
Correspondence (re: Vicariate)] 

145 A AM. Letter from Woods to Haid, 27 February 1911. [A1.0, No. 1. 
Correspondence (re: Vicariate)] 

,46 AAM. Letter from Robert Barton to Price, 23 December 1911. [A1.0, No. 1. 
Barton, Robert, Reverend] 

147 AAM. Letter from Barton to Haid, 27 March 1911. [Al .0, No. 1 . Barton, Robert, 

14, AAM. Letter from William F. O'Brien to Haid, 31 March 1911. [A1.0, No. 1. 
Correspondence (re: Vicariate)] 

,49 AAM. Letter from Price to Haid, 14 April 1911. [A1.0, No. 1. Conference of 

l50 In addition to the Minutes (AAB), see: SAA, No. 4. Letter from Haid to Primate, 
10 May 1911. 
m SAA. ibid 

'"MM. Letter from Delegate to Haid, 13 May 1911. [A1.0, No. 1. Vicariate] 
,53 AAM. Letter from Gibbons to Haid, 18 May 1911. [Al .0, No. 2. Gibbons, James 

,54 AAB. Petition from Gibbons to Pius X, 31 May 191 1 . 

,55 Cf. SJA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Engel, 30 May 1911. 

15 *AAB. Letter from Delegate to Gibbons, 1 September 1911. And A AM. Letter 
from Delegate to Haid, 1 September 1911. [A1.0, No. 1. Vicariate] 

157 AAM. Letter from Gibbons to Haid, 2 September 1911. [A1.0, No. 2. Gibbons, 
James Cardinal] 

"'CFMSA. Price's diary, entry for 23 September 1911. 


"'Ibid , 2 October 1911. 

160 AAM. Letter from Price to Haid, 7 October 1911. [A1.0, No. 1, Price, Thomas 
Frederick, Reverend] 

161 SVA, No. 9. Quoted in letter from Haid to Hintenach, 3 November 1888. Haid 
said this originally at the Pontifical High Mass with students in attendance on the 
occasion of the first solemn profession (Gregory Windschiegel's) at Belmont, 1 
November 1888. 

162 AAM. From poem by Mary Taylor, 1910. [A1.0, No. 1. Silver Jubilee (Abbatial)] 
'"From statistics in Jubilee Book, 46. 

,64 SVA. Letter from Haid to Felix Fellner, 19 January 1922. 

Chaptep Vlll: 

the 6ean 

'AAM. "Virgin Most Faithful," May conferences by Leo Haid, first delivered at 
Saint Vincent Abbey in 1878. [Al.O, No.l. Mary, Saint — Conferences] 
2 SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 2 December 1889. 
3 AAM. May Conferences. 

4 AAM. Notes for retreat conference by Haid, delivered at Saint Vincent 
Archabbey, 22 June 1920. [Al.O No. 10. Sermons and Retreats] 

5 Cf. for example, D.RAH.A. Letter from Hintemeyer to Joseph Gallagher, 18 July 

6 Cf. for example, AAM. [Mil, No. 1. Correspondence — Official] 
7 AAM. Publicity Files, Volume xiii, 14. "Father Felix Dies on Trip to Rome," 
[Georgia] Bulletin, June) 1924. 

•For example, Pontia, the Daughter of Pilate, C. 1895. 

•Quoted m Souvenir, 27 November 1913. 

,0 Cf. reference in AAM. Letter from Dennen to Hintemeyer, 26 October 1910. 

"The details of the offer have not been preserved either at AAM or D.SU.A. Cf. 
AAM. Letter from Jean Myers (archivist) to Paschal Baumstein, 21 December 1983. 
[uncatalogued materials] 

12 AAM. Chapter Minutes, 18 January 1915. 

"SVA, No. 14. Letter from Haid to Prior of Saint Vincent, 18 December 1916. The 
revised horarium: 

4:15 rising 

4:30 Matins and Lauds 

followed by an interval 
5:35 Priests: individual Masses 

Clerics: common meditation in chapel 
6:00 Conventual Mass 


6:30 Prime and thanksgiving 
7:00 breakfast 
7:30 recreation or walk 
8:00 study and class preparations 
8:30 classes 
10:45 music, etc. 

1 1:40 Minor Hours and Particular Examen. 
12:00 luncheon 

followed by Vespers 

followed by recreation 
1:30 study, lectio, etc. 
2:00 classes 
4:15 music, etc. 
6:00 supper 

followed by thanksgiving, lectio, devotions, 

recreation, etc. 
7:30 Compline 

followed by study, etc. 
9:00 dormition 

,4 Cf. A AM. Visitation Reports, especially 1907, 1910, 1914, 1917, 1920, and 1923. 
[Al.O, No. 1, Visitation (1907), (1910), (1914), (1917), (1920), (1923)] 
"Ibid., Report to the Community, 1923. 
"Ibid., Report to the Community, 1920. 
"Ibid., Report to the Abbot, 1920. 

"AAM. Conference notes by Haid, 1912. [Al.O, No. 6. Sermons and Retreats] 


2I AAM. Notes for retreat for novices, 12 June 1918. [Al.O, No. 2. Sermons and 

22 AAM. "Seat of Wisdom," May Conferences. 

"AAM. Notes for a conference concerning "Destiny," undated (c. 1920). 
"AAM. Notes for retreat for novices, 12 June 1918. 

"AAM. Notes for retreat for novices, 11 June 1918. [Al.O, No. 2. Sermons and 

"AAM. Lecture notes by Haid, December 1888. [Al.O, No. 2. Sermons and 
27 A AM. May Conferences. 

"AAM. Notes for retreat for novices, 11 June 1918. 


31 AAM. Document of 25 July 1914. [Al.O, No. 1. Assistant at the Pontificial 

"This was on 25 May 1914. Copies of the commemorative photographs are 
preserved in AAM. Cf. also, letters from Haid to Hintemeyer, spring and summer 
1914. [Mil, No. 8, No. 9, No. 10. Leo Haid, Abbot] 

"AAM. Letters from Haid to Hintemeyer, spring and summer 1914. 

14 AAM. Letter from Haid to Hintemeyer, undated (May 1914). [Ml 1, No. 8, Leo 
Haid, Abbot] 

"AAM. Letter from Benedict XV to Haid, 15 October 1919. [B7, No. 1. Leo 
Haid— Golden Jubilee (Profession) (Papal Missive)] 


56 A AM. Letter from Gregory Diamare to Haid, 13 November 1919. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Golden Jubilee (Profession)] 

"SJA. Letter from Haid to Engel, 27 June 1917. 

"Cf. AAM. Letter from Denis O'Connell to Haid, 5 September 1917. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Correspondence (1917)] 

"Cf. AAM. Letter from Dennen to Haid, 25 May 1917. [Al.O, No. 1. 
Correspondence (1917)] 

^Cf. for example, AAM. Letters from Eugene Egan to Haid, of 2 May 1918 and 13 
August 1918. [Al.O, No. 1. Eugene Egan, OSB, RP]. And letter from Francis 
Underwood to Haid, bearing notation by Haid, 23 August 1917. [Al.O, No. 1 . Francis 
Underwood, OSB, RP] 

4I Cf. AAM. Letter from Apostolic Delegation to Haid, 1 1 January 1923. [Al.O, No. 
1. Correspondence (1923)] 

"Cf. Ellis, Life, II, 632. 

43 Cf. Vincent de Paul Fitzpatrick, Life of Archbishop Curley: Champion of Catholic 
Education (Baltimore: [no publisher listed], 1929). 

"Fogarty calls him "the truculent successor to Gibbons." Cf. Gerald P. Fogarty, The 
Vatican and the American Hierarchy From 1870 to 1965 (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 
1982), 314. 

45 Cf. John Tracy Ellis, Catholic Bishops: A Memoir (Wilmington, Delaware: Michael 
Glazier, 1983), 47. 
"Ibid., 51. 

47 AAM. Sermon delivered by Haid at Silver Jubilee of Christopher Dennen, 14 
November 1916. [Al.O, No. 9. Sermons and Retreats] 

41 AAM. Remnants of official papers. [DVl.O, No. 1. Dennen, Christopher, 

4, Cf. for example, AAM. Letter from Dennen to Haid, with enclosures, 20 October 
1914. [DVl.O, No. 1. Saint Mary Pro-Cathedral (Wilmington, North Carolina)] 

50 AAB holds the complete files of the Dennen>Curley correspondence. For this 
struggle the years 1922-1925 are the most significant. 

"SJA. Letter from Haid to Engel, 17 April 1921. 

"SVA, No. 14. Letter from Hintemeyer to Priests of the Vicariate Apostolic of 
North Carolina, 7 December 1922, to be read at Masses of 17 December 1922. 
"AAB. Letter from Curley to Dennen, 14 May 1922. 

54 SVA, No. 14. Letter from Hintemeyer to Priests of the Vicariate, 7 December 
1922. Despite the transfer of the official celebration to the following year, the priests 
were "hereby directed on the coming twenty-first day of December to observe the 

1 . To expose the Blessed Sacrament to the public adoration for one hour 
from eight a.m. to nine a.m.; 

2. To offer the Holy Mass "Pro Ordinario"; 

3. To let the children recite the Holy Rosary aloud; 

4. To give the Solemn Benediction at the end of the hour of adoration; 

5. Lastly, to sing the hymn, "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name". 

Thus everyone will join in spirit in the Jubilee Mass which the Right 
Reverend Jubiliarian will personally celebrate at Belmont Abbey at the 
above mentioned hour. 

"AAM. Menu for banquet tendered the jubilarian, 11 April 1923. [B7, No. 1. Leo 
Haid — Golden Jubilee (Priesthood)]. And, Invitation to the jubilee Mass, 1 1 April 
1923. [B7, No. 1. Leo Haid— Golden Jubilee Invitation (1923)] 

"AAM. Letter from Remke to Haid, 23 March 1923. 

"AAB. Letter from Curley to Dennen, 10 May 1923. 


"AAB. The request was dated 10 May 1923; the response, 24 May 1923. 

"AAB. Letter from Dennen to Curley, 24 May 1923. 

"SVA, No. 9. Letter from Haid to Hintenach, 4 October 1888. 

"SJA. Letter from Haid to Bernard Locnikar, 10 January 1891. 

"SVA, No. 10. Letter from Haid to Leander Schnerr, 19 February 1893. 

"SVA, No. 10. Letter from Haid to Schnerr, 6 August 1894. 

"BSA, No. 1. Letter from Haid to Katharine Drexel, 21 December 1898. 

"SJA. Letters from Haid to Engel, 14 April 1908 and 9 May 1908. 

"SAA. No. 2. Letter from Hintemeyer to Primate, 22 March 1909. 

"SJA. Letter from Haid to Engel, 1 1 June 1909. 

"SJA. Letter from Haid to Engel, 18 August 1918. 

70 AAM. Letter from Haid to Mark Cassidy, 28 April 1919. (M102, No.2. Leo Haid, 
OSB, Bishop] 

"SJA. Letter from Haid to Engel, 22 April 1910. Also cf., Barry, Worship, 252. 
"AAM. Letter from Haid to Mark Cassidy, 2 December 1920. [M102, No. 1. Leo 
Haid, OSB, Bishop] 
"SJA. Letter from Haid to Engel, 17 April 1921. 
74 SVA, No. 1 1. Letter from Haid to Aurelius Stehle, 4 August 1921. 
75 SJA. Letter from Haid to Alcuin Deutsch, 1 1 April 1922. 
76 AAB. Letter from Dennen to Curley, 24 May 1923. 


"Anselm Biggs, the Abbey's chronicler, giving Father Nicholas Bliley (who was 
Haid's canonist at Belmont) as the source, says that the plan of 1924 called for the 
Nullius ' territory to be changed to include only Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties, 
and to have Haid named a titular archbishop. According to Biggs' recollection, Bliley 
claimed to have prepared the Relatio for this appeal. [Interview with Anselm Biggs, 22 
February 1984] 

"AAB. Letter from Curley to Dennen, 26 May 1922. 

"AAB. Letter from Curley to Delegate, 18 June 1923. 

"Cf. AAM. Letter from Mauro Inguanez to Thomas Oestreich, 8 July 1924. [M59, 
No. 1. Thomas Oestreich] 

"AAM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 11 June 1924. [M59, No. 1. Thomas 

"AAB. Letter from Curley to Dennen, 24 March 1924. 

"Cf. AAM. [M59, No. 2. Thomas Oestreich] 

17 AAM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 11 June 1924. 

"AAM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 1 July 1924. [M59, No. 1. Thomas 

"AAM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 18 June 1924. [M59, No. 1. Thomas 

"AAM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 23 June 1924. [M59, No. 1. Thomas 

"AAM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 1 July 1924. 


n ibid. 

"A AM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 8 July 1924. [M59, No. 1. Thomas 

**AAM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 1 July 1924. 

"AAM. Publicity Files, xiii, 14. 'Tather Felix Dies On Trip to Rome," (Georgia) 
Bulletin . 

"AAM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 14 August 1924. [M59, No. 1 . Thomas 

97 AAM. Letter from Haid to Baumgartner, 2 July 1924. [M59, No. 1. Thomas 

9, Cf. Doris, Belmont, 49. 

"A AM. Letter from Gabriel Locher to Baumgartner, 7 November 1924. [A1.5, No. 
1. Gabriel Locher, OSB] 
,00 AAB. Letter from Dennen to Curley, 5 December 1924. 
,01 Cf. A AM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 14 August 1924. 
,02 AAM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 8 July 1924. 

103 AAM. Letter from Inguanez to Oestreich, 4 January 1925. [M59, No. 2. Thomas 

,04 AAM. Letter from Thomas Cook and Son World-Wide Travel Service to 
Oestreich, (May, 1925). [A2.0, No. 1. Felix Hintemeyer, OSB, RP— Estate (local)] 
105 AAM. Speech by Haid, undated (post 1910). [Al .0, No. 12, Sermons and Retreats] 
l06 Cf. also, Doris, Belmont, 49-50, n.l. 

,07 Cf. AAM. Publicity Files, xiii, 18. "Death Came at 9:30 p.m.," (unlabeled 
newspaper clipping). 

,M BPA. Telegram from Nicholas Bliley to Eugene Egan, 24 July 1924. 
109 SJA, No. 5. Letter from Haid to Norbert Hofbauer, 8 November 1894. 
"°AAM. Notes for retreat for novices, 11 June 1918. 
"'AAM. Speech by Haid, undated (post 1910). 
,,2 Cf. Doris, Belmont, 49-50, n.l. 

"'"Bishop Leo Haid, Abbot of Belmont Abbey, Succombs After Lingering Illness," 
Gastonia Gazette (25 July 1924), 1. 

" 4 AAM. Letter from Michael Irwin to Baumgartner, undated (1924). [A1.5, No. 1 . 
Irwin, Michael, Reverend] 

'"AAM. Publicity Files, xiii, 22. Taylor Glenn, "Final Mass for Bishop Haid at Ten 
A.M. Today," Charlotte Observer, 29 July 1924. 

" 6 AAM. Speech by Haid, 1892. Reprinted in 'The New Abbey Church," The 
Charlotte Chronicle, 5 May 1892. 

" 7 McInemey's sketches are preserved in AAM. 

'"Cardinal O'Connell of Boston also claimed this title, since he was the longest 
reigning member of the highest strata (the Cardinalate) of the American hierarchy. 

'"Denis O'Connell sent Felix Kaup as his representative, both to the funeral and to 
the abbatial benediction of Leo Haid's successor at Belmont. 

120 Archbishop Curley was still in Ireland. 

121 AAM. Notice of Mass assignments for Pontificial Requiem ad Faldistorium , 29 July 
1924. [B7, No. 1. Leo Haid— Funeral Mass] 

122 AAM. Publicity Files, xiii, 23. Taylor Glenn, "Many Dignitaries Present," 
Charlotte Observer, 30 July 1924. 

I23 AAM. Publicity Files, xiii, 10. Bishop Boyle's eulogy is printed in "Bishop Haid's 
Luxuriant Mind and Wealth of Character Eulogized." 

,24 AAM. Notice of Mass assignments, 29 July 1924. 

,25 AAM. Glenn, "Many." 

126 AAM. Notice of Mass assignments, 29 July 1924. 
,27 AAM. Glenn, "Many." 

,2 *AAM. Notes for retreat for novices, 11 June 1918. 

1W AAB, No. 3. Letter from Dennen to Delegate, 30 May 1922, also signed by secular 
clergy of Vicariate. 

,30 AAM. Letter from Irwin to Baumgartner, undated (1924). 

131 AAM. Speech by Haid, 17 October 1910, quoted in Jubilee Book, 27. 

'""In the last hour, 

Pray to thy Son for us. 
May we enter well upon death, 
O Virgin, Mother, Lady. 
May we enter well upon death, 
O Virgin, Mother, Lady." 
This prayer is still (1984) sung at burials at Maryhelp. It is also offered as part of the 
cemetery services each November. The monks also sing it randomly at various special 
occasions, especially jubilees. 


the Crozigr timns InwaRfc 

'Cf. A AM. Letter from Stephen Webber to Vincent Taylor, 7 December 1924. 
[A2.0, No. 4. Correspondence (1924)] 

*Cf. A AM. Letter from Dennen to Baumgartner, 16 December 1924. [A2.0, No. 1. 
Correspondence (1924)] 

3 Cf. AAM. Letter from James Gallagher to Baumgartner, 19 December 1924. [A2.0, 
No. 1. Correspondence (1924)] 

4 Cf. AAB. Letter from Dennen to Curley, 5 December 1924. 

5 AAM. Letter from Dennen to Baumgartner, 16 December 1924. 

*Cf. AAM. Letter from Alphonse Buss to Taylor, 18 September 1924. [A2.0, No. 1 . 
Correspondence (1924)] 


•ACFA. Protocol of the election of 20 August 1924. 

'AAM. Letter from Baumgartner to Helmstetter, 25 October 1924. [A1.5, No. 1. 
Anthony Meyer, OSB, RP] 

"AAM. Letter from Gabriel Locher to Baumgartner, 7 November 1924. [Al .5, No. 
1. Gabriel Locher, OSB] 

"AAM. Letter from Taylor to Helmstetter, 30 November 1924. [A2.0, No. 3. 
Abbatial Confirmation] 

l2 The Bull of Confirmation as Abbot Ordinary is preserved in AAM. 

"AAM. Chapter Minutes, 22 February 1890. 

,4 AAB. Dennen summarizes his activities for Curley in: Letter from Dennen to 
Curley, 5 December 1924. 

"Cf. AAB. Letter from Delegate to Curley, 26 January 1925 ["As your Grace is 
aware, we knew nothing of this appointment" of Baumgartner]. Also cf. AAB. Letter 
from Curley to Baumgartner, 28 January 1925. 

"AAB. Letter from Baumgartner to Arthur R. Freeman, forwarded to Dennen, 
then forwarded to Curley, 4 December 1924; with letter from Freeman to Dennen, 5 
December 1924. 


17 AAB. Letter from Curley to Dennen, 9 December 1924. 

"AAB. Letter from Sacred Consistorial Congregation to Curley, 17 December 1924. 

"D.RAH.A. Bull of Erection of Pius XI for Diocese of Raleigh, 22 December 1924. 

20 AAB. Letter from Curley to Baumgartner, 28 January 1925. 

21 AAB. Letter from Baumgartner to Curley, 12 February 1925. And AAB. Letter 
from Curley to Baumgartner, 13 February 1925. 

"AAB. Letter from Curley to Baumgartner, 27 February 1925. 

"AAB. Letter from Taylor to Curley, 30 January 1925. 

24 AAB. Letter from Baumgartner to Curley, 10 February 1925. 

"D.RAH.A. Letter from Dennen to Curley, 3 February 1925. 

2< AAB. Letter from Dennen to Curley, 14 January 1925. 

"AAB. Letter from Curley to Dennen, 15 January 1925. 

"AAB. Letter from Curley to Dennen, 7 February 1925. 

"Cf. AAB. Letter from Dennen to Francis Gallagher, 13 March 1925. 

J0 D.RAH.A. Letter from Dennen to William Hafey, 27 May 1925. 

J1 AAB, No. 4„ Report from Curley to Delegate, 10 April 1925. 

"The most significant of these related to Curley's reluctance to invite Taylor, who as 
head of the Abbatia Nullius was one of the Archbishop's suffragans, to the Provincial 
meetings. An appeal for an official clarification had to be made before that situation 
was resolved. The oral tradition at Belmont also records that Taylor was publicly 
humiliated for wearing a livery that was supposedly inappropriate to his rank, at a 
meeting of the Ordinaries of the United States. The problems regarding the status of 
the abbatial 'diocese' in the Province were raised again for Taylor's successor when the 
archiepiscopal See of Atlanta was erected in 1962. Apparently, Rome did not officially 
assign the nullius to the new Province (as it did concerning Raleigh, Charleston, etc.), 
yet Baltimore also declined to recognize the nullius diocese as a suffragan territory. The 
Delegate had to resolve the situation. 

"Numerous interviews with monks of Belmont Abbey and employees of Belmont 
Abbey College, 1974-1984. Also AAM. Necrology for 'The Most Illustrious and Most 
Reverend Lord, The Lord Vincent George Taylor, O.S.B.", prepared by Anselm Biggs, 
1959. And Anselm Biggs, "A Remembrance of Abbot Vincent Taylor," Crescat 
(Winter, 1978), 4. 

"AM. Annual Statement, signed by Father Nicholas Bliley, Procurator, 30 June 
1925. [Jl, No. 1. Abbey (1925)] 

"It is significant in terms of Haid's legacy that the several reminders Belmont 
received, regarding the necessity of a cloistered orientation over a missionary 
emphasis, were issued in conjunction with statements regarding the burden of the 
Nullius. In advising the second Abbot of Belmont to request that the abbatial 'diocese' 
be partitioned in the 1940's, the Apostolic Delegate said 

While your abbey has been successful in scholastic projects, it is inevitable 
that the missionary phase of the priests' life has to be foregone. Indeed, it 
does not seem possible for the abbey to work the territory as it should be 
worked to provide for the greater spread of the Faith there. 

—Letter from Delegate to Vincent Taylor 
23 October 1943 


That same theme marked the second parition, which occured in 1960. 

To the end that the Fathers of the Order of Saint Benedict living there, long 
renowned in the estimation of all for their religious observance, the 
splendor of their piety and the cultivation of the arts and sciences, may 
better contribute to the good of souls and the advancement of Catholicism, 
and in order that, having been freed from external duty of whatever other 
sort, they may devote their entire efforts to the education and formation of 
youth [the Nullius is partitioned]. 

— Decree of the Sacred Consistorial Congregation 

26 March 1960 

Paul VI addressed the need for re-evaluating the service performed by abbeys nullius in 
his Apostolic Letter of 23 October 1976, seeking to remind all monks affiliated with 
abbatial 'dioceses' of the necessary return to priorities: 

Hence, since "the principal duty of monks is to present to the Divine 
Majesty a service at once humble and noble within the walls of the 
monastery, whether they dedicate themselves entirely to divine worship in 
the contemplative life or have legitimately undertaken some apostolic or 
charitable activity," it has seemed good to revise some of the canonical rules 
pertaining to abbeys nullius. 

And the revision of Paul VI was a decree that no new abbatial 'dioceses' should be 
erected, and that as feasible those already existing should have their 'diocesan' 
character suppressed. 

When the time came for Belmont to relinquish its abbatia nullius, the Holy See 
reiterated the values it had been commending to the monastery's attention for more 
than thirty years: 

This Sacred Congregation for Bishops regards the educational work of the 
College as the chief pastoral help for the entire region and hence while it 
rejoices greatly over the past activity, it offers every good wish for the 
future that the work of this distinguished College may flourish from day to 
day and be perfected in accord with the norms and statutes which old and 
new documents of the Church commend for Catholic Schools. 

— Letter from the Sacred Congregation 
for Bishops to Jude Cleary, 31 January 1976 

Thus Belmont's mandate to replace missionary commitments with monastic and 
educational work and emphasis was particularly clear, and its values and objectives in 
this regard were obvious. 
"Ibid., letter of 23 October 1943. 

37 AAM. Decree of the Sacred Consistorial Congregation, 26 March 1960. 


P&Rt 1: 

majoR puBlishe6 Soimces 

Bassett, J.S. "A North Carolina Monastery." Magazine of American History (February, 
1893), 131-135. 

Baumstein, Paschal. "Chapel, Church, Cathedral." Crescat (Summer, 1983), 1-8. 

"The First Sign of Permanence." Crescat (Summer, 1982), 1-6. 

'The Tradition of Saint Leo's." Crescat (Autumn, 1981), 1-6. 

. "Variations in Heraldic Insignia at Maryhelp Abbey." The American 

Benedictine Review (March, 1983), 62-73. 

'The Benedictine Abbey of Belmont, North Carolina." American Ecclesiastical Review 
(December, 1910), 720-721. 

Benedict of Nursia. Regula. [available in any number of editions. Cf. in particular, the 
Editio critico-practica (1912), edited by Cuthbert Butler]. 

Br en nan, Robert. "Benedictines in Virginia." The American Benedictine Review (March, 
1962), 25^0. 

A History of Saint Mary 's Church. Belmont, North Carolina: Abbey Press, 

1962. [The edition in A AM is annotated and corrected] 



Chaignon la Rose, Pierre. "Arms of the Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina." The 
American Ecclesiastical Review (July, 1911), 9-11. 

"Erectio Abbatiae Belmontensis in 'Abbatiam Nullius' ". The American Ecclesiastical 
Review (December, 1910), 690-695. 

Hintemeyer, Felix. 'The Maryhelp Abbey." The Catholic Church in the United States of 
America, Volume I. New York: The Catholic Editing Company, 1912, 50-54. 

'The Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina and Abbatial Diocese of 

Belmont." The Catholic Church in the United Church of America, Volume 
III. New York: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914, 260-274. 

Johnston, Helen. The Fruit of His Works: A History of the Benedictine Sisters of Saint 
Benedict's Convent, Bristow, Prince William County, Virginia. BristOW: Linton Hall 

Press, 1954. 

O'Connell, Jeremiah Joseph. Catholicity in the Carolinas and Georgia: Leaves of Its History. 

New York: Sadlier, 1879. 

Oetgen, Jerome. A n American Abbot: Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., 1809 1887 . Latrobe, 
Pennsylvania: The Archabbey Press, 1976. 

"Boniface Wimmer and the American Benedictines: 1877-1887." The 

American Benedictine Review (March, 1974), 1-32. 

'The Origins of the Benedictine Order in Georgia." Georgia Historical 

Quarterly (June, 1969), 165-183. 

Remke, Ignatius. Historical Sketch of Saint Mary's Church, Richmond, Virginia, 1843- 193 3. 

[gives no publication information, probably should be: Belmont, North Carolina: 
Abbey Press, c. 1935] 

pARt II: 

paptial Listing Op published 
Sourcgs ReQAR6inq 
SeconfcaRy ConceRns 

Ahem, Patrick H. The Life of John J, Keane, Educator and Archbishop. 

Milwaukee: Bruce, 1955. 

Bailey, James Henry. A History of the Diocese of Richmond. Richmond, Virginia: 
Diocese of Richmond, 1956. 

Barry, Colman J. The Catholic University of America 1903 1909: The Rectorship 
of Denis J. O'Connell. Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 


Worship and Work: Saint John Abbey and University, 1856-1956. 

Collegeville, Minnesota: North Central Publishing Company, 1956. 

Baumstein, Paschal. "A Divine Practice." The North Carolina Architect (July- 
August, 1983), 14-19. 

Belmont, Perry. An American Democrat: The Recollections of Perry Belmont. 
New York: Columbia University Press, 1940. 

Benko, Matthew. The Abbot 'Nullius '. The Catholic University of America Canon 
Law Studies, No. 173. Published Doctoral Dissertation. Washington, D.C.: The 
Catholic University of America Press, 1943. 

Cope, Robert F. and Manly Wade Wellman. The County of Gaston: Two 
Centuries of a North Carolina Region. Charlotte, North Carolina: Gaston 

County Historical Society, 1961. 
Duffy, Conseuela Marie. Katharine Drexel: A Biography. Cornwells Heights, 

Pennsylvania: Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, (1965) 1972. 

Dunne, Edmund Francis. The Sicily of America: The Catholic Colony of San 
Antonio, Florida— Where They Grow the Genuine Sicily Lemon. 
[pamphlet] San Antonio, Florida: ([1883] 1885). 


Ellis, John Tracy. Catholic Bishops: A Memoir. Wilmington, Delaware: Michael 
Glazier, Incorporated, 1983. 

The Life of James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, 

1834 1921. Two Volumes. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1952. 
Fellner, Felix. 'Tather Oswald Moosmueller: The Pioneer Benedictine Historian of 

the United States." Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of 
Philadelphia (March, 1923), 1-16. 

Fitzpatrick, Vincent de Paul. Life of Archbishop Curley: Champion of Catholic 
Education. Baltimore: (privately published), 1929. 

Fogarty, Gerald P. The Vatican and the American Hierarchy From 1870 to 1965. 

Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 1982. 

Hilpische, Stephanus. Benedictinism Through Changing Centuries. Collegeville, 

Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1958. 

Lane, Raymond. The Early Days of Maryknoll. New York: David McKay 
Company, 1951. 

Lewis, H.H. Walker. "Eugene O'Dunne." The Lawyers' Roundtable of Baltimore 

and Its Charter Members. Baltimore: Paul M. Harrod Company, 1978, 50-66. 
[This chapter was originally published as an article, in virtually the same form, in 
American Bar Association Journal as "Baltimore's Judicial Bombshell," in 
July, 1970.] 

Magri, Joseph. The Catholic Church in the City and Diocese of Richmond. 

Richmond: Whittet and Shepperson, 1906. 

Miller, Miriam. A History of the Early Years of the Roman Catholic Diocese of 

Charlotte. Charlotte: Laney-Smith, 1984. 

Moleck, Fred J. "Music at Saint Vincent Archabbey Under Boniface Wimmer." The 
American Benedictine Review (June, 1963), 248-262. 

Oetgen, Jerome. "Boniface Wimmer and the Founding of Saint Vincent Archabbey." 
The American Benedictine Review (June, 1971), 147-176. 

"Boniface Wimmer and the American Benedictines: 1856-1866." The 

American Benedictine Review (September, 1972), 283-313. 

"Boniface Wimmer and the American Benedictines: 1866-1876." The 

American Benedictine Review (March, 1973), 1-28. 

"Oswald Moosmueller: Monk and Missionary." The American 

Benedictine Review (March, 1976), 1-35. 

Powers, George. The Maryknoll Movement. Published dissertation (M.A.), The 
Catholic University of America. Maryknoll, New York: Catholic Foreign 
Mission Society of America, 1920 (1926). 

Price, Thomas Frederick. Collected Letters of Thomas Frederick Price, MM. 
Robert Sheridan, editor. Maryknoll, New York: Maryknoll Fathers, 1981. 

(Priest of Maryknoll). Father Price of Maryknoll: A Short Sketch of the Life of 
Reverend Thomas Frederick Price. Maryknoll, New York: Catholic Foreign 
Mission Society of America, 1923. 

Puett, Minnie Stowe. History of Gaston County. Charlotte, North Carolina: 
Observer Printing House, 1939. 

Reger, Ambrose. Die Benedictiner im Staate Alabama. Baltimore: Drud von 
Kreuzer Brothers, 1898. 

Robinson, Blackwell P. The North Carolina Guide. Chapel Hill: University of 
North Carolina Press, 1955. 

Roemer, Theodore. The Ludwig Mission sverein and the Church in the United 
States (1838 1918). Published Dissertation. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic 
University of America Press, 1933. 

Separk, Joseph H. Gastonia and Gaston County, North Carolina (1846 1949) 

Gastonia: J.H. Separk, 1949. 

Sharpe, Bill. "Gaston." A New Geography of North Carolina, Volume II. Raleigh: 
Sharpe Publishing Company, 1958, 761-786. 

Sheridan, Robert E. The Founders of Maryknoll: Historical Reflections. 

Maryknoll, New York: Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, 1980. 

Stowe, Robert Lee, Sr. Early History of Belmont and Gaston County, North 

Carolina. [No publisher indicated] 1951. 

Worsley, Stephen C. "Catholicism in Antebellum North Carolina." North Carolina 
Historical Review (October, 1983), 399430. 

pARt 111: 

UnpuBlished SouRces 

Doris, Sebastian. Belmont Abbey: Its Origin, Development, and Present State. Belmont, 
North Carolina: [privately issued], 1971 (revised edition). [N.B., the original was 
an unpublished Master's thesis.] 

Fellner, Felix. Abbot Boniface and His Monks. Saint Vincent Archabbey Archives: 
typescript, n.d. 

Hollar, Donna Alyn. "Maryhelp Abbey Cathedral: Analysis and Interpretation of 
Gothic Revival." Unpublished graduate research paper (University of North 
Carolina at Charlotte, 19 April 1982). 

McGraw, Walter John. "Saint Benedict's Parish of Richmond, Virginia." Unpublished 
thesis. University of Richmond, 1949-1950. 

Meagher, Margaret. History of Education in Richmond. Richmond: Works Progress 
Administration (Federal Writers' Project), 1939. 

Sheridan, Robert E., editor. Very Reverend Thomas Frederick Price, M.M., Co Founder of 
Maryknoll: A Symposium. Privately issued at Maryknoll, New York, 1956. 

Sherry, Agnes. 'The Development of Catholic Education in North Carolina." 
Unpublished Master's thesis. Fordham University, April 1930. 


apchival RepositoRies 

Archives of the Abbatia Nullius of Belmont (North Carolina). The Right Reverend Peter 
N. Stragand, O.S.B., Sixth Abbot of Belmont and successor to the Abbots 

Archives of the Abbey of Mary help (North Carolina). The Right Reverend Peter N. 
Stragand, O.S.B., Abbot. 

Archives of the American Cassinese Federation of the Order of Saint Benedict 
(Pennsylvania). The Right Reverend Martin Burne, O.S.B., Abbot-President; The 
Very Reverend Omer Kline, O.S.B., Archivist; Brother Philip Hurley, O.S.B., 
Assistant Archivist. 

Archives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore (Maryland). The Most Reverend William 
Borders, Ordinary; Sister Felicitas Powers, R.S.M., Archivist. 

Archives of Belmont Abbey College (North Carolina). The Right Reverend Peter N. 
Stragand, O.S.B., Chancellor; The Honorable Basil Whitener, Chairman of the 
Board of Trustees; Dr. John R. Dempsey, President. 

Archives of Benedictine Priory (Savannah, Georgia). The Right Reverend Leopold 
Krul, O.S.B., major superior; The Very Reverend Conan Feigh, O.S.B., Prior. 

Archives of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America (Mary knoll, New York). 
The Reverend Delbert Robinson, M.M., Archivist; The Reverend Robert 
Sheridan, M.M., Historian. 

Archives of the Diocese of Charleston (South Carolina).* 

Archives of the Diocese of Raleigh (North Carolina). The Most Reverend Joseph 
Gossman, Ordinary; Mrs. Robert Leary, Archivist. 

Archives of the Diocese of Richmond (Virginia). The Most Reverend Walter Sullivan, 

Archives of the Diocese of Savannah (Georgia).* 
Archives of the Diocese of Superior (Wisconsin).* 


Archives of Saint Benedict Abbey (Kansas).* 

Archives of Saint Benedict Motherhouse (Bristow, Virginia). Mother Andrea 
Verchuck, O.S.B., Prioress; Sister Damien Tambola, O.S.B., Archivist. 

Archives of Saint Benedict Priory (Richmond, Virgina). The Right Reverend Peter N. 
Stragand, O.S.B, major superior; The Very Reverend Benedict McDermott, 
O.S.B., Prior. [N.B., This collection includes the records of the Benedictine 
Military Institute, also. At the time the current work was being researched, this 
repository had not yet been organized] 

Archives of Saint Bernard Abbey (Alabama).* 

Archives of Saint Charles Seminary [Sulpician House of Studies] (Baltimore, 

Archives of Saint John Abbey (Collegeville, Minnesota). The Right Reverend Jerome 
Theissen, O.S.B., Abbot; The Reverend Vincent Tegeder, Archivist.* 

Archives of Saint Mary Abbey (New Jersey).* 

Archives of Saint Leo Abbey (Florida). The Right Reverend Fidelis Dunlap, O.S.B., 
Abbot; The Reverend Henry Riffle, O.S.B., Archivist.* 

Archives of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome). [For this project, microfilm at the 
Catholic University of American (Washington) was used] 

Archives of the University of Notre Dame (Indiana). Dr. Wendy Schelerth, Archivist. 

Archives of Saint Vincent Archabbey (Latrobe, Pennsylvania). The Right Reverend 
Leopold Krul, O.S.B., Archabbot; The Very Reverend Omer Kline, O.S.B., 
Archivist; Brother Philip Hurley, O.S.B., Assistant Archivist. 

Archives of Saint' Anselmo Abbey [International House of Studies for the Order of 
Saint Benedict] (Rome).* 

Archives of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People [Saint 
Elizabeth Convent] (Cornwells Heights, Pennsylvania).* 

Provincial Archives of the Congregation of the Holy Redeemer (New York).* 

♦Indicates repositories which supplied information without personal research 

PARt V: 

types Of Wopks not 
Listed In the BiBlioQRaphy 

1 . In most cases the bibliography excludes works consulted within the larger 
environment of the various archival collections named. 

2. Standard and general reference works have not been included. 

3. Minor sources not directly employed in this work, and of little value to 
researchers are not listed. 

4. Newspapers and use of their morgues are not cited in the bibliography. 



1 . Ordinarily, churches, parishes, and missions are indexed according to 
their location. They are found under the name of the county in which 
they are situated. 

2. Ordinarily, schools and apostolates are indexed under name of the spon- 
soring monastery, convent, or religious order. 

3 . Because poor recordkeeping has obscured the identity of many of the 
Benedictine brothers, most references to the non-ordained monks are in- 
cluded under the listing for Mary help Abbey. 

Abbey Cathedral of Maryhelp (Belmont, NC) 
114-126, 306 

Abbot Primate 

9, 102, 189, 192, 225-226, 237, 239-240, 242, 244, 265, 289 

Allen, Edward P. 

Alt, Altman 

Amberger, Joseph 

American Cassinese Congregation 
foundation: 8 

Haid asPraeses: 101-102, 104, 119 

American Ecclesiastical Review 

Amrheim, John 

Angels, Holy Guardian 
9, 124. 

Aosta, Duke and Duchess of 


Arthur, Raphael 
164, 166 

Asheville, Diocese of (North Carolina) 

proposed diocese: 238, 240, 241, 242, 286 

Avery County (North Carolina) 
Catholicism in: 242 

Baltimore Sun 
90, 178 

Barnes, (Mrs.) 

164-165, 166 

Barry, Patrick 
292, 293 

Barth, Ulric 

36, 37, 41 

Barton, Robert 

Baumgartner, Leonard 

Baumgartner, Willibald 

21, 22, 44, 55-56, 90, 155-157, 206-208, 288-290, 291, 296-300, 301-302, 304, 

Becker, Thomas 
61-62, 90 

Begley, Michael